Jonathan Reed goes live

Religion professor Jonathan Reed had a slightly larger audience than his usual religion classes number at the University of La Verne when he offered his expertise to the National Geographic Channel series “Science of the Bible” on Sept. 14.

The series premier episode “Birth of Jesus” aired at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel. Reed served as the senior historical consultant to the series helping in the reenactments of Bible stories and the reconstruction of ancient cities.

“Birth of Jesus” uncovered the real history of the Nativity. It concentrated on the gospels of Matthew and Luke and how the stories of Jesus differ in each gospel. The show gave detailed reenactments of how Mary possibly gave birth to Jesus. One detail that both gospels had in common was that Mary was a virgin, but neither Matthew’s or Luke’s gospel could agree on who witnessed the birth. One gospel said that wise men witnessed the birth while another gospel said that shepherds were present at Jesus’ birth.

“I wish they would have told more stories of other divine births that were occurring at the time of Jesus’ birth,” Reed said.

Throughout the episode Reed explained each gospel’s account of the miracles and events surrounding Jesus’ birth.

“The real miracle may be that Jesus survived,” he said.

This was not Reed’s first time being featured on television. Reed has also been associated with the History Channel series “In the Footsteps of Jesus: From Galilee to Jerusalem”. 

Reed is also currently the lead archeologist on a major dig at Sepphoris. The site, the crossroads of two ancient roads just north of Nazareth, was considered the jewel of the Galilee.

Reed has more projects in the works as well. 

“Currently I’m working on an archaeology textbook, and I’m in the works with the National Geographic Channel in making ‘Science of the Bible’ into a book,” Reed said.

Similar episodes include “Jesus: The Preacher,” which aired on Sept. 21, “Jesus: The Man,” televised on Oct. 10 and “Jesus: The Healer,” televised on Oct. 24.  Airtimes are 10 p.m. eastern and pacific time zones.

Darnell Gilbert can be reach at

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Posted September 27, 2005
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