Thursday, November 29, 2007

Palestinian Christians caught in the crosshairs of a growing Islamic fundamentalism pray at Saint Catherine's Church in Bethlehem in Explorer: Last Christians of Bethlehem

A Different Kind of “Holiday” Viewing

Premieres... on National Geographic Channel

The Missing Years of Jesus
Monday, December 17, at 9:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)

Between the ages of 12 and 30, the life of Jesus Christ is unaccounted for — nearly two decades missing from the man at the core of the Christian religion. Today, scholars are beginning to form a clearer picture of the Missing Years by re-examining stories in the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and connecting them with new archeological discoveries. A narrative rich in details and subtle clues begins to emerge. What was his family life like? Was he educated or bilingual? Where might he have worked? And what hot-button cultural and political issues may have influenced him? Go back to Nazareth in 6 A.D. to learn more about the blue-collar village, its oppressed inhabitants and abusive Roman rulers to see how it helped shape Jesus’ rebellious personality and radical beliefs in The Missing Years of Jesus.

Decoding Bible Relics
Tuesday, December 18, at 9:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)
In recent years, extraordinary finds have been made in the Holy Land about the legendary Temple of Solomon and the burial of Jesus. Now, Decoding Bible Relics distinguishes authentic artifact from sophisticated fake. See how a tiny four-centimeter ivory pomegranate, thought to be the ornamental tip of a priest’s ceremonial staff, becomes a revolutionary discovery — the first physical proof that King Solomon’s temple existed. But is the engraved Aramaic text genuine? And who is the owner and where did it come from? Then, investigate a shiny black stone with ancient writing known as the Jehoash Tablet that seems to confirm events described in the New Testament. Is it a priceless artifact? Or a hoax? And finally, go to the tomb of Jesus’ family that received worldwide publicity and widespread skepticism from the scientific community.

Lost Warrior Kingdom
Tuesday, December 18, at 10:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)
When the dark warriors of Hattusha stormed the city of Babylon, their mission was to found the greatest empire the world had ever seen. They succeeded, but the vast empire they created simply disappeared. For 3,000 years, all trace of them was lost from the history books and even legend, until recently when fragments from this lost world began to emerge. These new clues opened up a world of mysteries and secret codes. A fortress city, built to last forever, an unstoppable war machine and a mighty empire, even greater than that of Egypt. Lost Warrior Kingdom is the story of how a civilization, built to last forever, could simply vanish from history.

Explorer: Last Christians of Bethlehem
Wednesday, December 19, at 8:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)
The Church of the Nativity in the heart of Bethlehem marks one of Christianity's most sacred sites: the birthplace of Christ. For centuries, it was one of the most fought-over holy places, seized and defended by a succession of armies — including Muslim and Crusader forces. Explorer takes us inside Bethlehem, the famous epicenter of Christendom, to show us that the city is still a place of passions interrupted. Follow the event that polarized the world, when heavily armed Muslim extremists broke into the Church of the Nativity in 2002 and instigated a deadly standoff began between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers. Years later, in the wake of the siege, tourists and worshippers to the church are few, and Christian residents are caught in the crosshairs of a growing Islamic fundamentalism and the entrenched Israeli fortress that surrounds it. Hear the fervid, revealing stories from those at the center of a changing, divided city.