Monday, May 5, 2008

BBC documentary: Did Jesus die?

This is the documentary of Richard Denton for BBC aired in 2001 and dealing with the question of whether Jesus did die or not on the cross. Many well-known theologians and priests have been interviewed on the subject. You can watch the documentary here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

You can also read an interview of the director of this documentary, Richard Denton, here.

Did Jesus Die?



Friday 11 July 2003

BBC Four: Your central question is did Jesus die on the cross rather than did Jesus die at all.
Richard Denton: It is really. I originally wanted to call it The Body of Christ because that seems to me to be the crucial question. Obviously he died at some point, but when and how is the question.

BBC Four: How do you think he might have survived crucifixion?
RD: Crucifixion took up to three days; the maximum he was on the cross for was nine hours, it might even have been six. And even if you read the gospels Pontius Pilate is clearly surprised that he's already dead and wants to be reassured by the centurion that he really is dead. My personal take on it would be that he goes into a shock induced coma, and probably they thought he was dead.

BBC Four: If he did survive why do you think it's not related in that way in the gospels?
RD: First of all, they would think it was a miraculous resurrection. You don't have to think of that as a conspiracy theory or a lie, it's just a mistake. What you then have to do is get him out of the way. The real question doesn't hang over the resurrection, which I think is explicable. The real question hangs over him ascending into heaven.

BBC Four: You make the point that the Ascension isn't actually mentioned in the gospels.
RD: It's not in any of the original versions of the gospels which is astonishing. It was in the last 16 verses of Mark, which were put in 300 years after and it's inserted, in a sentence, into some versions of Luke because he was assumed to have written the Acts and it's mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. That I think is the lie, the cover story to get him out of the country.

BBC Four: If Jesus was revived in this way where then did he go?
RD: One story is that he gets out and goes to the South of France with Mary Magdalene, there is a certain amount of evidence that she went there. And the other is that he goes to India and there are a number of versions of this. One of which suggests that in fact he had already been to India during the missing years between 12 and 29.

BBC Four: It was very interesting the parallel between the story of the three kings and the search for a reincarnated Lama…
RD: Absolutely, we explore that and the similarities between the miracles and the teachings of the Buddha and Jesus in the programme. And of course Buddha pre-dates Jesus by about 500 years, so it's not unreasonable that he may have gone to India, learned Buddhist teaching and brought it back. Then when he returns to India after the crucifixion he carries on the ministry in Kashmir until he dies at the age of 80.

BBC Four: What actually prompted you to start exploring this topic?
RD: I was intrigued because most academic theologians and intelligent churchmen, or a very significant number of them, do not believe that the resurrection is the literal truth. It's a metaphor to tell us that there is hope. Whilst not saying that it's a literal truth they don't actually say it's a lie, but if you're saying something's not literal truth then you are saying it's a lie. I was shocked that none of the people we interviewed, with the exception of the Cannon of Westminster, believed it was true. Yet if they don't think it's true what on earth do they think is the motivation behind writing the story in the Bible?

BBC Four: You say that the resurrection and the literal truth of the Gospel have in the past been the cornerstone of Christianity.
RD: Exactly. And the idea that you can go on preaching this to the ordinary faithful while not believing it yourself seemed to me truly offensive. So what I was looking for was another version of the story that had the possibility of being historically true, that could have been misinterpreted by the people at the time, so that what they said was not a lie, it was the way they understood it.

BBC Four: And in the end have you found that the most credible account?
RD: Yes, I think so. On the other hand I am a person who does not find the idea of rising from the dead and ascending into heaven credible. I'm faced with the choice, do I believe that the gospel writers were cunning liars or do I think they were simple men who misunderstood things and were amazed by this man.

BBC Four: And did these feet in ancient times walk upon England's mountains green?
RD: I personally don't think they did walk upon England's mountains green, I think they walked upon Kashmir's mountains green. They may have walked in France for all I know.


Icha said...

Hello there, you have a very nice website here. I'm thankful for your cause and hope that you will always be blessed. I'm from Indonesia, and I just want to point you to a new book written by Indonesian spiritualist Anand Krishna that supports Jesus' life in Kashmir post-crucifixion. It's called "Christ of Kashmiris" , and can be found at

Many thanks!

Neel said...

Thanks for your support and the information; 'icha'!! Come and visit again!! I'll be adding new articles soon!