"The Bible's Buried Secrets" is the title of a NOVA program that stirred controversy even before its first airing on PBS, on November 18, 2008.[1] According to the program's official website: "The film presents the latest archeological scholarship from the Holy Land to explore the beginnings of modern religion and the origins of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. This archeological detective story tackles some of the biggest questions in biblical studies: Where did the ancient Israelites come from? Who wrote the Bible, when, and why? How did the worship of one God - the foundation of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - emerge?"

On the Origins of Israel There is no archaeological evidence to corroborate the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's flood and Abraham. There is no evidence to support the mass exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, although some now believe that a small group did escape from Egypt; however, they were not Israelites but, rather, Canaanite slaves. On their journey back to Canaan they pass through Midian, where they are inspired by stories of the Shasu's god, Yhw. The Land of Canaan (called the Promised Land in the Hebrew Bible) was not taken over by conquest as described in the Book of Joshua - rather, the Israelites actually might have been Canaanites who migrated into the highlands and created a new identity for themselves. Of the 31 sites the Bible says that Joshua conquered, few showed any signs of war. "Joshua really didn't fight the Battle of Jericho," William G. Dever said. Some events of the Israelite kingdom given in the Book of Kings are more or less accurate as history.

On the development of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh The Bible's first books have been traced back to multiple authors writing over a span of centuries. (See Documentary hypothesis.) The early books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Samuel and Kings, reached almost their present form during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BCE.

On the development of monotheism in Israel The Israelite religion was not exclusively monotheistic from the beginning as suggested in the Hebrew Bible, rather, the archaeological evidence indicates that, before the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BCE, the early Israelites were polytheistic and worshipped the local god Yahweh alongside his "wife," a fertility goddess named Asherah. The emergence of monotheism and the belief in the universality of Yahweh was a response to the tragic experience of the Babylonian exile of the Israelites in the 6th century BCE. According to Dever, "It's out of this that comes the reflection that polytheism was our [the Israelites'] downfall."

Film Duration: 53 min .