New BYU documentary on Christ

S. Kent Brown sits alone in his family room in Utah. He watches a PBS documentary with intense interest, quietly taking notes. He knows several of the people being interviewed in the show. They are fellow scholars, people Brown respects, experts on the New Testament. Brown knows them well enough that he could almost write their answers for them.

But his peers' answers to questions about Jesus of Nazareth are not Brown's answers.

"I would say that so much differently," he says to himself.

Brown's answers are also scholarly and based on the best research, but the PBS documentary did not seek out his voice or similar voices. The documentary is scholarly, but there is no testimony. There are clouds, but no rain.

It is April 1998 and the program Brown watches is "From Jesus to Christ." He videotapes the program and reviews it. It isn't the point of view that surprises him. It isn't that the documentary casually dismisses Jesus as the Son of God. There is nothing new in these positions to a professor of ancient scripture at BYU.

The thing that impresses Brown, that gets into his belly, is the way the story is told. "From Jesus to Christ" is beautiful. The vistas of the Holy Land are sweeping. The close ups of artifacts enchanting. The music mesmerizes. It is visually compelling.

Brown gets an idea to make a documentary that looks at Jesus' life in a scholarly but faithful way. He will show that the same questions addressed in "From Jesus to Christ" can have different answers. The life of Jesus didn't begin in Bethlehem or Nazareth and it didn't end on Calvary. Brown gets hold of the idea to make a film for PBS using Mormon and other faithful scholars -- and he won't let go.

Read the rest of this story at deseretnews.com
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