the first christians
Jesus' Many Faces
How well do the archaelogical clues historians are uncovering match up with the story Christians have long told each other?
A Portrait of Jesus' World
His was a deeply religious generation, spiraling toward war amid expectations of a coming cosmic battle of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness
The Story of the Storytellers
The first gospel was written almost 40 years after Jesus' death. Were they historically accurate, objective accounts? Or intended as proclamations of faith?
The First Christians
The clash of customs and cultures among early Christians yielded a Jesus of many different interpretations and multiple messages
Why Did Christianity Succeed?
How did this small Jewish sect become the Christian church, embraced by the Empire that had sent Jesus to his death?
Watch the Full Programsample of the filmsample of the filmsample of the filmwatch
Maps, Archaeology & Sources DiscussionBibilical QuizA Follow-Up SymposiumSitemap


This FRONTLINE series is an intellectual and visual guide to the new and controversial historical evidence which challenges familiar assumptions about the life of Jesus and the epic rise of Christianity.

For an overview of the series read the Synopsis. It includes links to some of the stories and material on this web site which expand the narrative.

This site is anchored by the testimony of New Testament theologians, archaeologists and historians who serve as both critics and storytellers. They address dozens of key issues, disagreements and critical problems relating to Jesus' life and the evolution of Christianity. Throughout the site, maps, charts (for example, the fortress of Masada), ancient texts (including Perpetua's diary), pictures of the archaeological discoveries, ancient imagery, and audio excerpts from the television program complement and illuminate the scholars'commentary.

A new addition to this site is the edited transcript of a two-day symposium at Harvard University. This symposium was a follow-up to the FRONTLINE broadcast and featured scholars' presentations, workshops and audience discussion.


Behind the ScenesTapes, Transcripts & Events Teachers' GuideViewers' Guide Press Reaction

synopsis . watch online . symposium . jesus' many faces . a portrait of jesus' world . storytellers . first christians . why did christianity succeed?
maps, archaeology & sources . discussion . bible history quiz . behind the scenes
teachers' guide . viewers' guide . press reaction .  tapes, transcripts & soundtrack

published april 1998

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