Walking the Bible premieres January 4, 2006.
GO FORTH: From Creation to Abraham
The holy city of Jerusalem. Best selling author Bruce Feiler begins his epic, ten thousand mile odyssey to explore the greatest stories ever told, in the settings where they actually occurred. It's a daunting prospect in this strife-torn region of the world, where archaeological evidence is hard to find. He teams up with experienced archaeologist and co-adventurer Avner Goren.
By foot, jeep, rowboat, and train, Feiler and Goren set out to experience the Bible in its own world. Their quest takes them first to the birthplace of civilization, Mesopotamia, now part of Turkey. Here, on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, the Bible's storytellers set the Creation, and the Garden of Eden. Bruce and Avner climb Mt. Ararat in search of Noah's ark, travel to the ancient town where some believe Abraham was born….and then to the ancient ruins of Harran, where the Bible says God tells Abraham to "go forth" to the Promised Land. Following Abraham's path back to Jerusalem, they stop to explore the sulfurous land by the Dead Sea, with its salt pillars called "Lot's wife." Could this be dramatic evidence of Sodom and Gomorrah? The episode culminates at Jerusalem's sacred Temple Mount, the very spot where it's believed Abraham brought his son Isaac, and prepared to follow God's ultimate test of faith.
Dramatic scripture readings interspersed throughout all three programs bring us closer to these Biblical settings. As Bruce Feiler "walks the Bible," he discovers that his journey is turning into a very different kind of pilgrimage. At the end of the first episode, he wonders, perhaps the true importance of his travels may not be where the Bible took place. Instead, it's the unchartered spiritual landscape that now beckons as strongly as his geographic adventure.
A COAT OF MANY COLORS: The Israelites in Egypt
Egypt. Land of the Pharoahs….and of the Bible. Bruce Feiler continues his journey through the greatest stories ever told, by retracing Joseph's path to Egypt after his brothers sell him into bondage. When Joseph interprets the Pharaoh's dreams, he rises from slave to the heights of power and even brings his brothers and father Jacob to live in Egypt.
Feiler takes us from the great temple of Karnak in Luxor, formerly ancient Thebes….to the pyramids and sphinx of Giza, and descends into the royal burial tombs in the Valley of the Kings. As he treks by camel, boat, horseback and even pyramid-climbing, he discovers how the ancient Egyptian culture and religion influenced the Israelites during their centuries-long stay in Egypt, especially in the importance placed on dreams and story-telling.
Feiler explores the ancient ruins of cities where the Israelites were said to toil under an oppressive pharaoh. Beginning at the shallow waters of the Nile, Feiler retraces the story of one of the Bible's greatest figures, Moses, and his eventual confrontation with Pharaoh to let his people go.
Did the Israelites build the pyramids? What could have caused the ten plagues? Was it really the Red Sea Moses crossed? As Feiler confronts these questions, on the very body of water that could have been where the waters were parted, he realizes that it isn't the location, or even the event that's important, but that it was experienced as an act of God.
TOWARD THE PROMISED LAND: Forty Years in the Desert
The Sinai Desert. The barren wilderness where the Israelites find themselves after they've escaped Egypt. How will Moses lead them? How will he bring them to the Promised Land? In the concluding chapter of "Walking the Bible," Bruce Feiler follows the Israelite's 40 year trek through what the Bible calls a "great and terrible wilderness."
Feiler experiences the stark reality of the Sinai desert where it's a struggle simply to survive. He finds the locations said to be where God provided water and food for the Israelites - and discovers the secret of the tamarisk tree, which secrets a sweet, honey-like substance called "manna."
Despite its harshness, the desert is also a haven for spiritual pilgrims. In the shadow of the mountain believed to be the Biblical Mount Sinai, Feiler visits St. Catherine's Monastery, the oldest operating church in the world. He attends the services, a powerful, unchanged ritual of 1,500 years, and sees what's claimed to be the real "burning bush" in which God spoke to Moses. One of the monks, Texas-born Father Justin, shows him the Monastery's world-renowned library of priceless religious art and manuscripts. Later, when Feiler climbs Mt. Sinai where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments, he is struck by the spiritual significance of the land, and its relationship to the people, and to God. As he follows the 40 year route of the Israelites, he visits a local Bedouin family who also derive sustenance from the desert, and travels to the "lost city" of Petra in Jordan where the Israelites may have lived for many years. Nearing the end of Moses' journey, Feiler climbs Mt. Nebo, where God shows Moses the Promised Land the Israelites are about to enter. At the end of his own journey , Feiler realizes that although Moses is denied entrance himself, it is not the land after all that is important for Moses. It is his meeting with God.
Walking the Bible is a production of TMC Entertainment.
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