Being at my parents place for the last few days I’ve been watching quite a bit of satellite television (DSTV – in South Africa). Being a bit of a history junkie I spend a lot of time watching The History Channel, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. I’m sometimes intrigued watching a lot of these ancient conspiracy theory type shows in the ‘Dan Brownish’ category. The one thing though that is a bit disappointing is the level of scholarly integrity in these shows. I know you should expect it being popular television and all but it does become a bit frustrating after a while. For the naive viewer these ancient conspiracy theories sound fascinating and they’re presented in such a way that they must be the gospel truth.
Yet having a bit of background in reception studies and how ancient texts work it doesn’t take long before you start noticing a whole lot of cracks in the arguments presented as well as the withholding of important information about dating and reliability of certain ancient documents cited. Its a bit dishonest really, and whilst I know that its what should be expected in popular media of that variety, I just wish there was a higher level of integrity in these ‘documentaries’. A lot of people are watching them, and often a lot of people are being fed a load of rubbish.