If you're familiar with Drive Thru History® courses (Ancient History, American History, or The Holy Land), I think you will really enjoy Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”. I had to laugh, when the day the DVDs arrived, Xav started the first disc. He watched the intro for a moment and said, "Drive Thru History? Where's his MINI Cooper?" I have no idea if Dave Stotts drives a MINI in Ancient History. I guess I don't pay attention to the "important" stuff. I did note, however, that for this round Dave is apparently driving a 40 year old Land Rover. You're welcome. (Well, I'll be. I just looked up a mini and found a review on Car and Driver for the Mini Cooper S that looks identical.)
Dave Stotts and Drive Thru History® make learning about the past more fun. Seriously. I have active boys. They love the visual action, the quick and concise way Dave presents the information, and the neat graphics that appear on the screen with Stotts. He even interacts with some of the "holograms," as my boys call them. You are exposed to various texts, images, and pieces of art through these graphics. History isn't just about the dates, but also the action. The punks love to hear or see the true stories that are connected. It's a much richer history than the timeline, though that is also very important.
When I watched the trailer, I was so choked up. I cry my eyes out every time I see a depiction of what my savior did for me. I am so deeply humbled by that. You can see the trailer and cry your eyes out, too. You're welcome for that as well.
The Gospels: The Extraordinary Life of Jesus of Nazareth is a three DVD set with a hardcover booklet/case. Each of the 18 episodes is nearly 30 minutes long and is broken down more into chapters. The entire set explores the life and times of Jesus, using the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as outside historical information about the lives of rulers and the people at that time.
Disc 1 of the series begins with a quick and historical look at the time, people, and locations covered in the Gospel accounts and the importance of genealogies. Jesus' birth and the beginning of his ministry is also covered here.
Disc 2 contains Jesus' miracles, The Sermon on the Mount, and His travels with the apostles.
In disc 3, Dave Stotts talks about Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem, His trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.
I'm including a lot of photos this time, because the photography and cinematography are amazing. Hope you don't mind!
There is a lot of really interesting extra-Biblical information that I think really expands on what the Bible tells us about Christ and the times he lived in. For instance, in episode 4 we learn about King Herod and his Herodium, one of several of his palaces. I knew very little about him beyond the Biblical account. It's mind boggling to me what the wealthy rulers did to show their superiority over other people.
First, Herod had one mountain moved to the top of another mountain. By hand. Not his hand, of course. Herod Antipas, who ruled during Jesus' ministry, had a large bath house with three temperatures in the various pools. Herod's actual *pool* - in the middle of the desert - held nearly 3,000,000 (that's Million!) gallons of water. In the desert. Like his father, he had little regard for the lives of the people. Whereas, Herod the Great ordered the murder of all sons under the age of two in an attempt to kill the King of the Jews, Antipas murdered John the Baptist as well as a number of prominent men, even family members, to keep his rule secure.
Not knowing how the crucifixion would be portrayed, I chose to watch episode 16, The Crucifixion of Jesus, without the boys. I think the most dramatic portrayal of the crucifixion they have seen is from What's in the Bible?.
I've seen many graphic portrayals of the suffering of Christ, but rarely in drama is the entire process explained. Drive Thru History® used art and some live action while explaining what crucifixion does to the human body. At first, I thought how God must feel about his children who devise ways to torment their brothers and sisters. My heart was breaking. When Dave told of Christ on the cross crying, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?!" I lost it. I just wept, that gut wrenching, cleansing weeping. I am telling you this because I want you to know how incredibly moving this was. This scene was not melodramatic. It was just deeply moving.
sigh... OK. Take a minute if you need it...
The DVD set comes with a book built into the case. Each video has a four page spread devoted solely to it.
- Title page, which lists a quote. Most are Bible verses, but there are also quotes from the likes of Mother Teresa, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Harry Truman.
- Summary page with a short synopsis of the content.
- Five discussion questions and a list of the related Biblical readings.
- The Side Road which offers interesting tidbits about minted coins, the Garden of Gethsemane, and Passover, among other subjects. This page also highlights art or photos from The Gospels episodes.
Following these four pages, another artwork or photograph from the series is featured as a two page spread.
Dave Stotts is often humorous, but never irreverent. The videos can be many things, but are never boring. This would make a nice homeschool curriculum or Sunday school or small group study. One episode each week and the corresponding discussion questions and Bible reading, make an enjoyable and doable study for the target audience of middle school and up, but all ages will really enjoy this exciting look at Biblical history. It would be an excellent choice for a Lenten study.
At the time of this writing, the first episode is available on the Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” page. Just click on the word "here" on that page. No code is necessary.
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