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Easter and the YouTube generation

Press release from the University of Nottingham
PA 78/10
April 1 2010
Retelling the story of Easter for a YouTube generation
It is venerated as being the site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus — where the events of the Easter story actually took place.
Now theologians from The University of Nottingham are hoping their latest video for Bibledex.com, which features the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, will bring the story of Easter closer to an entire YouTube generation.
YouTube is not the first channel that comes to mind when thinking about the books of the Bible.
But http://www.bibledex.com is the unlikely medium being used by academics and students to pass on some of their knowledge to new audiences.
All 66 books of the Bible, that date from around 1400 BC to 100 AD, are being made available on YouTube thanks to the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the University’s film-maker in residence Brady Haran.
To put their videos into context some of the Bibledex team took Brady to Israel to film in the places where many of the books of the Bible are set.
These include the latest Easter video which features The Church of the Holy Sepulchre — also known as the Church of the Resurrection.
Among the other destinations on their itinerary were The Sea of Galilee and Armageddon Bibledex also takes a fascinating look at the traditional location of the Sermon on the Mount.
Brady Haran said: “The Bible is the most famous book in history yet I feel like few people know what’s in it. Bibledex comes from a completely neutral standpoint and asks what are these 66 books about and why should we be interested’. For everyone out there who wants to watch a cat fall down a staircase there is someone else trawling the internet for something with a bit more depth.
“The videos are aimed at everyone, from the most pious vicar to a total atheist. I just want people to watch them and say you know what, I never actually knew that was in the Bible — that was interesting.
“It is one thing to talk about Jesus walking on water — it is another to do it when you are up to your knees in the Sea of Galilee itself.”
One of students who found himself up to his knees in water was Peter Watts, a PhD student in the Department of Theology.
Peter said: “It would have been a shame to have gone all that way to see it and not gone in. It certainly added an extra dimension being in the water and looking at the various locations on the shore and discussing all the events which the Gospels suggest took place on or around the Lake.”
Being brought up and educated in the pre-Facebook and YouTube period, Roland Deines, Professor of New Testament Studies, admits Bibledex has changed his view on this:  “For people to sit there in front of their screens, to see the foundations of the houses going back to the first century, to see the small alleys between the houses, the open courtyards where the women and children spent their days in the time of Jesus, with the Sea of Galilee in the background, and still today the fishermen with their boats – that’s fascinating. If our videos and the scenes from Israel can help to communicate this fascination I would be very happy.”
Dr Karen Kilby, who is leading the project, said: “We wanted to do this project to let the wider public get a sense of what we do, of what is interesting about biblical scholarship and theology more broadly. It’s a way of having an impact beyond the students we teach or the people we can reach with our books.”
— Ends —
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations.
Described by The Times as Britain’s “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.
Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes.
The University has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre.
Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.
More information is available from Brady Haran, bibledex@hotmail.com, or Lindsay Brooke, Media Relations Manager, The University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 951 5751, lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk
More University of Nottingham news: http://communications/nottingham.ac.uk/


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