My kids and I had the opportunity to review a Christian documentary DVD from New Liberty Videos entitled Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Essentially, this is what amounts to a video recording of three different lecture sessions with a different speaker for each lecture. This 60 minute DVD is suitable for a general audience, but younger children may not be ready for the material that is covered. My three older kids (aged 16, 14 and almost 11) and I watched this DVD as part of our daily Bible class.
A Summary of Each Lecture Segment
Dead Sea Scrolls: (with Joel Lampe)
Joel Lampe takes the viewer on a whirlwind tour of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and what it takes to decipher them. There are 19,000 pieces of script that make up the Dead Sea Scrolls. Lampe describes the work involved in matching those fragments like this: Go to the store and buy 3 different kinds of potato chips. Bring them home and smash them into pieces. Then dump them all over the floor. Now sweep them up and reassemble them as they were before. Yeah. Not my idea of a good time either, but this is the challenge that archaeologists face as they try to piece together what is left of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Lampe describes how the scrolls were found and the geography and history that surrounds them.
Hebrew Word Pictures: (with Dr. Frank Seekins)
We found this lecture fascinating. Dr. Seekins walks the viewer through a crash course in Ancient Hebrew. Unlike modern Hebrew, Ancient Hebrew uses word pictures to bring a deeper meaning to the words. The language uses both letters and pictures simultaneously, so the letters tell you how to pronouce the word, but the pictures unveil the true biblical meaning. It was eye opening to see the biblical meaning for words like father, mother, and help meet. This lecture was incredibly faith and family affirming. Dr. Seekins is a gentle, humble seeming man and I could have listened to him much longer than the session allowed.
The Forbidden Book: (Dr. Craig Lampe)
In this lecture Dr. Lampe gives the viewer a basic over-view style look at what it took to preserve the Bible in it's integrity through the ages. He is clearly passionate about his chosen subject. While we honor the sacrifices that Godly people made so that the Scriptures would be available to us, this lecture had us scratching our heads a bit. There were some er... interesting opinions presented as fact without evidence to back them. For instance, Dr. Lampe presented the idea that the plague of the Dark Ages was actually caused by genetic material deposited on the Earth from the tail of a comet. His evidence to prove his theory? That he is a geneticist. That's all. It seemed like he was asking us to just "believe me because I know what I'm talking about..." My kids turned and looked at me with wide eyes and said, "How do we know that anything he's saying is right?" We spent the rest of the lecture questioning everything he said. Perhaps he is right. Perhaps the plague really was caused by a comet dropping genetic material on the Earth, but give something scientific to support the idea, please. Give me something more to go on than "I know because I'm a geneticist." I don't mind someone having a wild opinion, but let's admit it is an opinion. I cannot recommend this portion of the DVD because opinion is sometimes stated as fact, which muddles the line between what is fact and what is fiction. (Isn't that one of the things that drives us nuts about the evolutionary theory? It is presented as a fact when in reality it does not meet the scientific qualifications to become a scientific law. It is, in fact, just a theory. It is stated as a fact because popular opinion believes it to be so, but believing a theory to be so does not promote it to a scientific law. It has to meet the scientific qualifications. Just saying...)