I mentioned last week that God was putting a lot of opportunities to the more about the Bible itself in our path lately. We’re still studying who wrote it and how certain books were chosen for inclusion in both Sunday services and Schnickelfritz’s Bible merit. Now we’ve got a another review product by New Liberty Videos with the Bible as its subject. The title of the DVD, The Forbidden Book, might lead you to believe it has something to do with the Bible being taken out of public schools, but it in fact has to do with preserving the Bible throughout that era known as the Dark Ages. According to the video, by 400 AD the Bible had been translated into 500 languages. A century later it was only available in one – Latin, unreadable by the common man.
The majority of the video deals with the men that sacrificed (sometimes literally) their lives to see that God’s word was once again able to be read in the common tongue—mainly Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Luther although others are mentioned. This obviously leads up to The Reformation and the separation of the church into the Catholic and Protestant denominations. The video very seldom used the word “Catholic.” Instead it substitutes “established church” but it does mention several Popes and the idea that communion becomes the actual partaking of the body and blood of Christ so its very clear who the narrator is talking about.
I’ll be frank and say I come from a Protestant upbringing, but even I felt the narration comes down extremely hard on the Catholic church. The video claims that the Latin texts were purposefully corrupted for the church’s benefit, that the Pope’s ordered the Crusades just to conquer and claim Jewish wealth for the building of cathedrals, and the Pope himself called Christ a “profitable fable.” With claims like these, I think it only fair to include source documents for proof, either as an insert in the DVD case or files that could be accessed on the computer but there is nothing.
I watched the video with my son and it could not keep his attention, for which I am thankful. In a documentary about translating the Bible into the common tongue there is no need to bring up the fees for indulgences of “ravishing a virgin” or “a priest keeping a mistress” nor a need to state that at one point the church employed 100,000 prostitutes. And while martyrdom does apply to the topic, the discussion and images (mostly hand drawings, but some painted works of art) of how these saints were killed might be scary to younger viewers. New Liberty claims their videos are for all ages, but you might want to screen them first if your kids aren’t ready for such content.
The DVD retails for $19.95 and is almost an hour long. I do give kudos to New Liberty for including closed captioning for the hearing impaired (many educational DVD don’t do so). The documentary is actually produced twice on the DVD—once without captions followed by one with them. Sometimes the captions take up the majority of the screen, making it difficult to see the picture behind them though.