tv Finding Jesus Faith Fact Forgery CNN March 26, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
king herod is one of the most notorious characters in the bible. he is the man who tries to kill the infant jesus. >> kill them all. >> appalling act where all the male children are slaughtered. >> but in history, herod is a powerful and successful ruler. >> history should remember herod the great as a ruthless but very effective king of judea.
>> who is the real king herod? the great ruler from history or the monster from the bible? and could this really be his tomb? ♪ 2007, the hebrew university of jerusalem. archaeologists cause a sensation when they reveal the discovery of a sarcophagus. >> with a breaking story from 2,000 years ago. >> fragments of what could be the most important archaeological find in the middle east.
>> what may be the tomb of an ancient king, herod. >> eight feet long and made of a rare pink limestone, this sarcophagus is beautifully carved and polished so meticulously it resembled marble. >> finding any king's tomb is big. but finding the tomb of king herod the great, the most famous ruler of judea is winning the swtakes or the lottery right there. >> the discovery of herod's tomb is immensely exciting because it's a connection to a man who was not only a legend of the bible but also a real and really important figure in ancient history. >> historical texts tell us herod is one of the great kings of the ancient world. from 37 b.c., he rules judea for 33 years.
>> he was the most magnificent, the wealthiest, most powerful, the most generous jewish king that he could be. >> here you have someone at the height of his powers, a great builder and a great planner. >> he was brilliant political leader in all sorts of ways and in many respects a very successful king of the jews. >> but in the new testament, he is the king who orders the murder of the infant jesus. >> people do not think of herod as great. herod was a sociopath. >> it's hard to see anything other than the psychopath who slaughtered the innocent. >> so just who was herod the great? and is this his sarcophagus?
>> when we first meet herod on the pages of the new testament, he's toward the ends of his career. he is someone who is full of personal problems, personal difficulties and who is clinging onto power by his fingernails. >> according to the gospel of matthew, men described as magi traveled to jerusalem to seek an audience with king herod. >> they were stargazers. their job was to consult the stars and their movements. and see what correlations or revelations they would give you about coming or present events. >> the bible doesn't tell us very much about the magi at all. it doesn't even tell us that
there are three of them, much less where they came from. what we are told is they came following a star which suggests that they're astrologists. >> matthew's gospel tells us the men were searching for a child born king of the jews. >> the story of the magi has the hallmarks of a legend. it's more about the identity of jesus, of saying that this is someone who is very special. that's really what the story is telling us, rather than explaining history about these particular figures. >> according to matthew, the men had come to king herod to ask for guidance. >> kings would not turn down audiences with people like the wise men, especially if they seem to have insider trader information that was plausible about the future.
so the scene between herod and the wise men in the gospel of matthew is absolutely plausible. this sort of thing happened all the time. >> i think an audience with herod the great would have been really terrifying if you were not sure of what herod thought about you or, even worse, if you knew that herod didn't like you, it probably was one of the more terrifying experiences of your life. >> i hear you have a question for me. >> so the magi come to herod and say, where is the king of the jews to be born which is an especially dumb thing to ask a king which is basically like saying, where is your successor, or where is the real king?
>> king of the jews? i am king of the jews. dear predictable, there's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced, our senses awake, our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪ kevin, meet yourkeviner. kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin kevin
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this is the traditional site of jesus' birth. >> the church of the nativity is important because it's at this site that christians believe jesus was born and that god became flesh. this is the place where god broke into the world to change history. not only is this one of the holiest sites in christianity. it's one of the holiest sites of all religions in the world. underneath this altar here is a cave, a grotto. and it's in this grotto that christians believe jesus was born. and the place is commemorated by a 14-point silver star. tens of millions of pilgrims come to the church of the nativity every year to venerate the birth of jesus.
>> according to the gospel of luke, joseph and the pregnant mary traveled to bethlehem from their home in nazareth. >> they have to travel to bethlehem because, according to luke, there was a census that required people to go to their ancestral homes. joseph was apparently from bethlehem so he had to return there. >> the importance of jesus being born in bethlehem is to connect him to king david. bethlehem was the city of david. joseph was of the line of david so it links them to that great history of the jewish patriarchs in jewish history. >> moreover, there's a prophecy that talks about the future ruler coming from bethlehem so jesus has to be born in bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy from the old testament and to be the true davidic messiah.
>> when they arrive in bethlehem there is no place for them at the inn. >> let's be clear what the biblical narrative actually says. the word for inn isn't there. this is not some public guesthouse that they're staying in. they are probably in joseph's extended family's house. there's not room for them in the main accommodation so they have to put jesus where the animals are. >> nevi samuel, nine miles from bethlehem, the houses in this site provide an insight into the nativity story. >> this is a typical home dating to the second temple period. this is the kind of home you can imagine jesus might have been rn in, in bethlehem.
the family would have lived up here. they may have accessed the top floor from a ladder. maybe two or three rooms. everything very crowded. but what's really significant is what we find down here on the ground floor. this is actually quite typical of a first century home. the animals would have been kept inside the home on the ground floor. here they would have eaten food placed in here. they would have drunk some water. it's in a trough like this that we can imagine the manger in which jesus was laid. here amongst the animals. ♪
>> when we think of the nativity, it has all the elements of beauty and wonder, of miracle, of romance. it's important to remember this is a very real story with very real people. god enters the world in the most vulnerable state possible, a little infant. and depends on the care of humanity to help him spread his message. >> king of the jews.
i am king of the jews. >> the birth of a new king basically a royal pretender, a threat to the throne, is a threat to herod. and herod is concerned. >> when herod hears that the magi are looking for the child born king of the jews, his thought is, i'm the king of the jews. herod is the king of the jews so who could this child be? >> please, don't leave. i need to consult my priests. >> find it! find it! >> according to matthew, herod orders his priests to find where prophecies say the messiah will be born. >> herod is threatened by jesus. there's a big irony here. the king who has huge power is jealous of a tiny little baby.
>> there were very real threats against herod's life. it's not so surprising that you'd constantly believe your life was in danger. >> bethlehem. >> herod is certainly trying to play his cards close to his vest. he's trying to be both clever and cunning and not reveal too much about how he feels about the idea of a new messianic ruler figure. >> go to bethlehem and search for the child. when you have found him, bring me word so that i may also go and pay homage. he says that he wants to honor jesus, to go and also pay
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we know it from christmas plays in schools. we know it how it's retold in churches. it's very much the christian imagination, rather than the totality of who he was. >> to understand the man behind the legend, we need to look at the writing of jewish historian josephus. >> it's a priest of supposedly hasmonean stock. also of the great jewish war. within those histories of the jewish people, herod receives prominent attention. >> josephus fills in all sorts of fascinating details about herod and tells us the details of his family, his political successes, political disasters and so on. >> josephus describes in detail herod's journey from courtier to king. >> herod first comes to our
attention as a young courtier in his father's administration and herod originally is appointed a local governor in galilee. >> but i40 b.c., there is an uprisi in jerusalem. >> after the pantheons have taken over jerusalem, herod gathers his mother and his mother-in-law and his wife and flees the city. >> in the judean desert, herod is attacked. >> so josephus records herod turns and faces the enemy. >> herod wins in josephus narration a dramatic victory over his opponents.
>> it was a really important victory that really set him on the path to becoming king of judea. >> this victory is the turning point in his fortunes. and from there, everything is on the up and up. >> rome sees the potential in this herod to create a really successful, perfect king. somebody that they could rely on the ground who understands the traditions on the ground but who they could actually pull the strings on, if necessary. >> the romans put herod into power. the romans support herod. the romans are the ones who grant herod legitimacy and client kingship. >> my greetings. >> herod is a great leader. a great segment of t
population really, really support herod, really like him. >> he wanted to be like alexander the great or the great kings of the past. so he had this vast building program set up to demonstrate his power and authority. >> herod builds vast theaters, aqueducts and forts. and in 23 b.c., herod begins expanding the second temple. >> herod tries to ingratiate himself with the jewish people by enlarging and renovating the jewish temple. and he does succeed in making it into one of the most beautiful buildings in the ancient world. >> today, herod's temple is gone, but part of the colossal platform on which it once stood remains. the western wall is still one of the holiest sites in judaism. >> one cannot overestimate the importance of the temple in first century judaism. it was the religious center of judaism.
the place where god's presence was understood to reside on earth. despite herod's achievements and rome's support, nearly his reign, herod's crown is not secure. >> one of the big problems herod has got is that he wants to call himself the king of the jews but he, himself, is not jewish by blood. herod has got to solve this problem. he solves this problem kind of brilliantly by marrying into the most famous jewish family of the time, the hasmonean dynasty. herod marri the beautiful princess mariamne. her family had ruled judea for a century before herod took the throne. >> for herod, marrying the hasmonean princess gives him the opportunity to claim he is
hasmonean himself because the previous king has no sons. so he becomes, simply through marriage, the obvious and oldest and clearest hasmonean there is. >> but according to josephus, his choice of bride isn't purely political. >> the way to describe their relationship was one of obsession. he's obviously completely besotted. >> together the couple have five children. >> it seems like it's a match made in heaven. >> but josephus tells us all is not as it appears. >> he seems incredibly and almost jealously infatuated with her. and josephus records that she thinks very little of him and thinks that he's of very low status.
>> so little by little, the relationship, the marriage between herod and mariamne starts to unravel. it's almost shakespearean in quality its trage. >> josephus records that when herod goes out of the kingdom, he is very concerned about his wife's fidelity to him. >> herod is passionately in love with his wife but his mother and sister absolutely hate this woman. so they seize their opportunity and they say she's been unfaithful to him whilst he's been away. herod flies into a jealous rage and has her executed.
>> almost immediately afterward, herod regrets the decision. it's not just simple regret. it's a real, deep depression. josephus records that herod actually almost kills himself from grief. >> he is increasing his jealousy, his paranoia. and increasingly becoming that monster, the herod of legend. >> so by the time matthew's gospel describes herod meeting the magi after the birth of jesus, he is no longer an even-handed ruler. now, according to the new testament, herod unleashes a massacre. his target, the infant jesus. hey! you know, progressive
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>> according to the gospel of matthew, the jealous and paranoid king herod sends the magi to find the newborn messiah. >> he tries to get the magi to tell him where he is so he might kill him because he's threatened by the birth of jesus. time after jesus' birth.hem some >> the magi were probably overwhelmed when they first set eyes on jesus. they were probably also wondering, who was this child going to be? who was he going to be? what was he going to do? what does the future hold for jesus? >> the fact the magi brought gifts fit for a king, gold, frankincense, myrrh. >> myrrh used for oil burials. who wants gold? kings want gold, right?
>> the magi have something of a dilemma. do they return to herod and report to him and thereby endanger the life of the child or leave and, thereby incur the wrath of herod who might pursue them? >> they intuit that herod's intentions are not good, and so they ignore. they ignore the king, and they go a different route out of a sense of protecting this child in whom they have seen god. >> i have news about the magi. they've chosen not to return to jerusalem. >> herod's reaction is unsurprising. he's already paranoid.
now he's thinking, oh, they slunk off back to wherever they came from because they found something they didn't want to report to me. and so i think this only causes him to push the panic button. >> kill every male child under the age of 2. >> according to the gospel of matthew, herod sends his soldiers to bethlehem to find and kill jesus. >> kill them all. >> herod as a king would have been perfectly willing to kill any and every person that he needed to, to achieve his goal. >> find him! >> it's very hard to recapture the horror of the massacre of the innocents. dozens, if not scores of
children being murdered in their homes. it must have been terrifying. >> stay down. don't move. stay down. >> how do you hide your child from an evil king like herod who is bent on destroying these children out of a lust for power. >> next house. >> according to the story in matthew, joseph is warned in a dream that herod is a threat to their newborn child, and they get out of town fast.
>> they want to make sure that they were nowhere near herod's homicidal grasp. >> herod probably thought he had killed all the children in bethlehem, but he never knew that jesus had escaped. >> matthew says that to escape the massacre, mary and joseph flee to egypt. like any couple with a child, mary and joseph would have been overjoyed to know that their son was still safe. they are human beings, we have to remember, and they had the same human emotions that any parents would have. >> mary and joseph as they reached egypt with that precious child must have felt tremendous relief. but they also must have wondered, what now?
in a foreign land, what do you do? how do you live? >> but some scholars question if the massacre of the innocents is a real historical event. >> kill them all. >> josephus does not talk about this kind of massacre, and you would think given all the other massacres he talks about that he would bring it up. >> it does tell us something about the way that herod's character was understood by lots of ancients. it's the kind of story they told about herod as a paranoid, neurotic king who was capable of great barbarism. >> the massacre of the innocents is notisrical but what it
does for matthew, it makes jesus look like a new moses. in the old testament, pharaoh tries to kill baby moses by slaughtering all of the hebrew children. matthew, by sharing herod slaughtering all this children in bethlehem is sharing that jesus is like moses, and herod is like the pharaoh. >> so who is the true king herod? and can history and archaeology reveal the man behind the myth? grown man now. i don't want to pry... dad. but have you made a decision? i'm going with the $1000 in cash back. my son... ...a cash man. dad, are you crying? nah, just something in my eye. the volkswagen 3 and easy event... ...where you can choose one of three easy ways to get a $1000 offer. hurry in to your volkswagen dealer now and you can get $1000 as an apr bonus,
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♪ in the judean desert ten miles from jerusalem stands herodium. >> from a distance, it looks like a volcano. kind of like dr. evil's secret volcano lair, something out of a james bond film. it's a big cone. but in reaty, herodium is a seven-story palace. two stories under ground, three stories above ground and then a massive tower sticking up two
more stories above that. >> this palace was built by king herod. >> herod the great took an impregnable fortress and carved out a mountain just over here and took that dirt and spread it all around the palace, burying the bottom two stories and earth. herod built herodium for himself. this is the only site that herod built that he named after himself. this is herod the great's mountain. >> it was a site of great personal significance to him. this impressive victory there early in his career, and it's a place he associates with the good things in his life.
>> the historian josephus told us in his writings that herod was buried at herodium. >> where precisely is herod the great buried? this is a question that's plagued scholars for the past few decades. everybody wants to know, what is the final rest of place of herod the great? if we can find the tomb of herod the great, we can fill in one of the great missing links in jewish history. >> for 35 years, professor ehud netzer of the hebrew university of jerusalem searches the site for herod's tomb. but he finds no trace. helping him search is his student roy parot.
>> an investigation of the lower areas of the palace reveals no clues. widen their search. and his team so as archaeologists were excating the side of herodium, they began to find clues that give us hints about a possible burial site. evidence of a tomb. other evidence of other burial practices and then they found the jackpot. a sarcophagus, an ornate, beautiful sarcophagus that could be the tomb of herod the great. >> breaking story from 2,000 years ago. >> fragments of what could be the most important archaeological find in the middle east since the discovery of the dead sea scrolls. >> the quality of the
sarcophagus and the location and the timing that it was built all suggest that only one person could have built this monument and that is herod the great. >> the discovery of the sarcophagus is very exciting because it's a reminder that herod was a real historical figure. so to have this sarcophagus, to know in fact, where he was buried really makes history come alive. >> according to josephus, in herod's final years, nobody is safe from his suspicion and paranoia. >> when he became personally weaker and ill towards the end of his reign, he was even more paranoid and concerned looking over his shoulder. he was vermuch afraid that somebody was going to usurp his throne. >> herod had plots coming from outside his palace, from inside his palace, from outside his
family, from inside his family, and some were real, and some were imagined. herod becomes convinced that his sons by mariamne are plotting against him. it's the great irony of herod's marriage to his hasmonean wife, although it's really good for his legitimacy as king. it also gives his sons reason to think that maybe they should be king instead of him. herod becomes convinced they are actually out to kill him. and in response, he executes them. >> herod tracks down 300 of their supporters. and executes them, too.
>> josephus records the last days of herod's life in gruesome detail. he's eaten up internally by worms, ravaged by sickness. >> he is probably hugely obese. he is not a well man. >> he goes back and forth between wanting to die and not wanting to die, trying to kill himself, for josephus this seems to be a fitting end to a king who is wracked internally by dissent and turmoil. by the end of his life, herod has amassed quite a death count. he's executed one wife. he's executed two sons. at the end of herod's life, a third son is added to that list.
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scepter and they went toward herodium for it was there that the burial took place by his own order and thus, did herod end his life. >> but how should herod be remembered? as a great king who brought peace and stability or a blood-thirsty and paranoid tyrant who tried to kill the infant jesus? >> the gospel of matthew does such a good job of painting the picture of a monster. that it's hard, even for modern skeptical readers to see anything other than the psychopath who slaughtered the innocent. >> i don't think the popular conception of herod the great based on the gospel of matthew is fair.
>> kill them all. >> it exaggerates his ruthlessness and willingness to commit murder in order to preserve his rule. >> he's an adept politician. he's a remarkable military leader. he is someone who ruled for over 30 years, a really very good ruler and none of this is information you get from reading the bible. >> but is this sarcophagus really the final resting place of king herod? >> when archaeologists discover it after a 35-year search among the ruins of herodium, the line stone coffin is in hundreds of fragments. >> we are look at it in complete sark could have -- sarcophagus
right now, but it was found in pieces, in literally hundreds of pieces but it was smashed. we reassembled it. you can see where it was hammered and smashed into pieces. you can see the strokes of the hammer in if you look carefully on the pieces that were joined together. somebody smashed it into pieces with a lot of emotion. it was not just to break it to see what's the treasure hidden inside. it was much more than that. >> for some the violence with which the sarcophagus was smashed seems to confirm it was herod's final p restice. >> in the decades after herod died, he became identified in popular myth and legend with the roman rulers who were widely loathed. the fact that someone would go back and smash it to bits seems to indicate it was maybe herod the great inside. >> you wonder whether someone is actually trying to destroy his memory because this is somebody who has worked with romans and was not really a true king of
the jews. >> but whether or not this is actually king herod's sarcophagus still divides opinion. >> it's the logical place that he would have been buried. i think all things -- other things being equal it is probably the burial place of herod. >> i find it really hard to believe that this humble, poorly built mausoleum is the mausoleum that herod the great, one of our greatest regal architects would have built for himself. >> archaeologist benjamin arubas has noticed some anomalies. with the mausoleum which contains the sarcophagus. >> the mausoleum is too small in terms of herod's self-image. it doesn't fit the way he saw himself among other kings of that period.
so from that point of view it's a very disappointing to think that this is what he made for his eternal memorial. after he built so many pjes, huge projects in this country and in many other cities all around the mediterranean. >> are we 100% sure this is herod's sarcophagus? no, we are not. it's all about circumstantial evidence, if you like. >> the debate over whether this is really king herod's tomb continues. >> not only does josephus tell us he was buried here, but being buried at the site of his greatest military history, but being buried here at herodium matches the persona of herod the great. and that is the great king of the jews but at a safe distance from jerusalem. and he is on the side of the hill.
he is not going to be buried in the palace, but he is going to be buried in a great monument looking back toward jerusalem as a reminder, i am the king of the jew, even in my death. los angeles is my home. it's also the epicenter of the church of scientology. i live within walking distance of four different scientology centers and i have heard everything you've heard. it's a cult, a scam, science