the passion

The streets and gardens of Jerusalem play a large role in this final segment, as Heston visits now-famous landmarks where many events of Jesus’ last week are purported to have happened. There’s something powerful about walking the Via Dolorosa—the path through Jerusalem that Jesus was thought to have carried his cross—while quoting the scene. Selections from all four Gospels were used interchangeably in an attempt to provide a detailed account. From Good Friday to the Resurrection, from the faithful women in the garden to Doubting Thomas, from the restoration of Peter to the Ascension—Heston’s textured tones breathe life into ancient words, hoping to inspire his viewers.

In this segment, Heston takes time to recount the history of the written scriptures from Jerome to the king james bible of 1611. (The KJV celebrates its 400th birthday this month.) It seems not only to be an educational lecture, but also a defense of his apparent affection for that translation in particular. The poetic and old-fashioned sound of its prose does make for more dramatic theater than, say, the NASB.

Well-received when it was first aired in the early 1990s, this documentary collection combines the beauty and drama of the Promised Land with the very words of God resonating through Heston’s spectacular voice—a truly winning combination.


river jordan

the word