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DVD Review - The Forbidden Book
June 18, 2005
The Forbidden Book is a DVD presentation examining the history of the Word of God in English. It is hosted by Dr. Craig Lampe, a Bible historian and International Director of the World Bible Society. Dr. Lampe owns the Rare Bible Showroom in Arizona and holds a virtual monopoly over rare and antique Bibles. His collection even includes a 1410 Wycliffe Manuscript valued at just under $3 million. It is one of the rarest Bibles in the world. He has a Coverdale Bible, Great Bibles, sells leaves of the Geneva Bible, and, amazingly enough, leaves from the Gutenberg Bible - the first book ever published. If you happen to have one of these complete Bibles sitting in your attic, you should have it insured for about $100 million.
This DVD is an hour-long presentation on the history of the English Bible. The viewer will meet most of the historical figures responsible for bringing us the Bible as we know and love it today: Wycliffe, Hus, Gutenberg, Colet, Erasmus, Tyndale, Luther and so on. He will see some of the locations important to the history of the Bible, such as the Wittenberg door and Martin Luther’s study. He will learn about the earliest English translations, in the Old World and in the New.
There are many amazing facts worked into the presentation. Lampe shows a scroll that is 1000 years old, and tells the viewer that it is word-for-word the same as the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were written a full millennium before. He describes how the Bible went from being available in 500 languages in 400 AD to being available in only 1 only 100 years later. He talks about a 110 year period in America during which 5000 editions of the Bible were produced.
In short, it is quite an informative and enjoyable video. The production quality is a little bit uneven (the host can be a bit awkward at times (what do you do with your hands when you’re on camera?) and there are places where the camera shakes a little bit during panning shots. But on the whole the quality is quite good. It is a bit strange that the only information given about who produced this video are the name of the host and, at the very end, his web site. There are no further credits. I know from the information given on various e-commerce sites that it is produced by New Liberty Videos, a company that does not seem to have an Internet presence.
Being reminded of the blood that was shed to bring the Bible to common folk like myself, makes me consider just how flippantly I treat the Scriptures. Do I really have a sense of how privileged I am to have not just one Bible but an entire stack of them in many outstanding translations? And do I thank God for the faithful men and women who gave their lives that I can have unlimited access to His Word? Do I really understand how unique my situation is? I suspect I do not often enough consider these things.
Before I close, I will warn that the host is quite harsh towards the Roman Catholic Church and their role in the history of the English Bible. And well he should be, as the papacy worked tirelessly to eradicate any person who dared to present the Scriptures to the common man. Of course the fears of the Church were founded, for when Scripture became accessible, the light quickly broke forth and spread throughout the world.
At Greatsite.com the advertisement for this video says, “Hundreds of Church Sunday School classes and Christian home-schoolers use it as part of their curriculum.” I would agree that this presentation would be useful for those purposes. It would make a valuable addition to a church, school or even public library. It would also make a great gift. And of course it is also a valuable addition to a personal library. I very much enjoyed this video and am sure to watch it again. I recommend it.
If you are interested in this video, I’d encourage you to click here and visit the Apologetics Group, which offers this DVD as well as many other great selections.