I later learned that a course pack had been put together, with a leader's guide, participants' guide and a VHS video (remember those?) containing several clips. But it was really highly priced, and whilst it seemed likely that it would contain clips from the then unseen Son of Man, I simply couldn't afford it. It soon went out of print and Amazon Marketplace and eBay seemed to offer no solace.
So I was really pleased to discover recently that this pack has now been released on DVD, and much more reasonably priced (RRP $24.99). It looks like it was released in May this year, so I'm surprised I hadn't heard anyone mention it prior to a chance encounter on eBay.
I've now had a chance to flick through the material. The DVD comes with a Leader's Guide booklet to accompany the participants' guides (which you purchase separately), which is also provided as a PDF. There's a bit of extra information ("More About Philip", "Additional Resources" and "Also from Zondervan") on the disc, but the main component is the video material for the six sessions.
The set up of these sessions has clearly been thought through well. The material switches between group questions and discussion and some dialogue from Yancey interspersed with Jesus film clips. There's no need for group leaders to faff around with remote controls trying to pause in the right place: when it's time for the group discussion the DVD simply goes to a holding menu-type screen and awaits further instruction. Typically each session opens with a 5 minute introduction from Yancey, then some opening group questions. The main part of the session comprises 15 minutes from the DVD; 10 minutes discussion about the video; and a twenty minute "Bible Exploration". Yancey takes a couple of minutes to wrap up and there's a final question for the group to close.
Yancey's video bits jump between him addressing the audience directly, and watching clips from eight different films:
From the Manger to the Cross (1912)In some ways that's quite an eclectic mix, and doubtless, some of those films will be unfamiliar to some. The inclusion of several scenes from Son of Man is a particular highlight. That said, this selection is limited in two ways. Firstly, most these films tend to be those already beloved by the evangelical community who are the most likely audience for this course. Those that could be seen as a little more controversial, like From the Manger or Son of Man are largely unknown. Last Temptation of Christ or Jesus Christ Superstar are certainly significant omissions.
The King of Kings (1927)
Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
Son of Man (1969)
The Gospel Road (1973)
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Secondly, these films are now all quite dated. These clips were originally collated for the VHS set, which was released in 2001, so more recent films like The Passion of the Christ and The Gospel of John hadn't yet been made. Furthermore, whilst a bunch of Jesus films were released in 1999 (Jesus, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, The Miracle Maker, The Revolutionary, it's unlikely that there was sufficient time to incorporate them into the project. The result is that those viewing these clips today will find that even the most recent portrayal of Jesus they are shown is 30 years old. Yancey's clips have also aged a little bit. It's funny how quickly things like this move on.
But it's good to see this course finally become more widely available. I'm thinking of running a modified version of it in the spring, although I'm entirely sure how I'll go about it. Watch this space!
Labels: DVD News