THE APOSTLES COLLECTION
Review by Michael Jacobson
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Length: 170 Minutes
Release Date: February 25, 2003
am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the
faith.” – The Second Letter of Paul the Apostle to Timothy,
were the twelve unlikeliest of men; a motley crew consisting of uneducated
fishermen, farmers, shepherds, a tax collectors and more.
One’s name would be etched for all history as synonymous with betrayal.
The others were told by their master to go out and shake up the entire
they did it.
double disc presentation of The Apostles Collection, originally airing on
The History Channel, is a fascinating piece of both religious and world history.
Narrated by Martin Sheen, these discs combine scriptures, historical
records, and modern scholarly assessment to shed light on who these men were,
what they were like, and most of all, how they managed to do the work they did.
first disc is The Story of the Twelve Apostles, which chronicles the
assembly of the original Apostles, their lives with Jesus of Nazareth, their
foibles and failings, and ultimately, their miraculous victory in spreading the
early Church all over the world.
explores in some detail the troublesome question of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed
his master cruelly, yet ironically set the wheel in motion for a major world
religion. Was it really thirty
pieces of silver he was after? Or
was he anxious to see his Jesus use his powers and miracles to overthrow the
Romans and re-establish the kingdom of the Jews on earth? Some modern theorists speculate that his betrayal was his
means of forcing the issue; that if Jesus was cornered and facing execution, he
would become the fiery deliverer Judas expected him to be.
second disc is The Story of Paul the Apostle…a tale worthy of its own
feature. It details the events in
the life of the man who went from violent persecutor of the early Christian
Church to its single greatest evangelist, bringing the Gospel for the first time
to the Gentiles and spreading the message of Jesus all across Europe.
During his life’s work, his epistles became the first written records
of Christianity (even predating the Gospels themselves), as well as compiling a
third of the New Testament.
most significant was his successful effort to convince his fellow Apostles that
Gentiles need not subscribe to the Mosaic laws to become followers of Jesus.
It wasn’t a decision that made everyone in the new faith happy;
Paul’s life was filled with turmoil and danger everywhere he went.
features use some modern re-enactments and plenty of artwork and paintings to
give life to their subjects. Best
of all are the visits to historical sites…we see the actual Garden of
Gethsemane, and the church built up around the rock where it was believed Jesus
prayed and wept before being given up. We
even get to see the room where it is believed the Last Supper took place, and
the monument that marks where Jesus’ return to heaven took place.
a scholarly point of view, this set is a remarkable offering, rich in historical
detail and texture. It may or may
not please devotees of the Christian faith, as it doesn’t really attempt to
affirm or deny the message or persona of Jesus of Nazareth.
For my own part, being very familiar with the scriptures, I found the use
of outside materials and modern scholarly opinions to be very effective in
lending perspective and opening up ideas I hadn’t considered before.
bottom line is, whether you follow the Christian faith or not, no one can deny
the historical impact of Jesus of Nazareth, nor certainly that of the dozen men
who greatly shaped the history of the world.
This set chronicles those crucial, formative years, and even carries the
impact of what was done then forward into our own 21st century, where
their work carries on even today.
full frame presentations look quite good for both features.
Most impressive is the collection of artwork throughout the ages depicted
the men and the events in their ministries; these discs offer a virtual
Christian museum! Modern footage
blends well with some silent movie clips (from D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance)
to bring the stories to vivid life. Nicely
stereo soundtrack is a pleasant offering, but naturally centers around Martin
Sheen’s narration and the dialogue of other scholars, as well as bits of
background music here and there. It
all plays cleanly and clearly…no complaints, just nothing to really challenge
your system either.