BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

TV Series “Dig” Delivers Drama

New archaeology TV show captures the excitement of discovering the Biblical world

tv-series-dig

In the TV series Dig on the USA Network, FBI agent Peter Connelly investigates the death of a young archaeologist who was wrapped up in a centuries-old conspiracy involving the Essenes and the Jerusalem Temple. The archaeology TV show concludes its first season on May 7, 2015.

In Jerusalem, FBI agent Peter Connelly turns a routine encounter with a young archaeologist, who resembles his deceased daughter, into a whirlwind adventure to prevent World War III when she is found murdered. Across the world in New Mexico in a cult-like compound, a young boy named Jacob is coming of age. Jacob, however, is not what he appears, and he has a destiny directed by prophecy. On an isolated farm in Norway, a red heifer without blemish is born. This is how the first season of the TV series Dig, a new show on the USA Network, began.

In an archaeology TV show where Indiana Jones meets Lost meets CSI, Dig brings Biblical archaeology to prime-time television. The show intricately weaves three seemingly unrelated storylines together to create a conspiracy born out of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essenes to resurrect the Temple in Jerusalem. The archaeology belongs to a bygone era, and it is hard to ignore the resemblance between dig director Ian Margrove and Leonard Woolley (in appearance if nothing else). The archaeology TV show is to Biblical archaeology what Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code is to church history. Some of the names, places, dates and even methods are correct, but the writers and producers do not let themselves get bogged down by facts and accuracy. They are telling a story, and it is pure fiction. An enjoyable, if convoluted, mystery, but not the place to go looking for a documentary.

The first season of the TV series Dig concludes on May 7, 2015, and is available on demand through your local cable provider.


Interested in the history and meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls? In this free eBook, learn what the Dead Sea Scrolls are and why are they important. Find out what they tell us about the Bible, Christianity and Judaism when you download our free Dead Sea Scrolls eBook.


ellen-whiteEllen White, Ph.D. (Hebrew Bible, University of St. Michael’s College), is the senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology Society. She has taught at five universities across the U.S. and Canada and spent research leaves in Germany and Romania. She has also been actively involved in digs at various sites in Israel.


 

Further reading in the BAS Library:

Konstantinos Politis, “Death at the Dead Sea,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2012.

Sidnie White Crawford, “A View from the Caves,” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2011.

Kenneth Atkinson, Hanan Eshel and Jodi Magness, “Another View: Do Josephus’s Writings Support the ‘Essene Hypothesis’?” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2009.

Rivka Gonen, “Visualizing First Temple Jerusalem,” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1989.

Kathleen Ritmeyer and Leen Ritmeyer, “Temple Mount: Reconstructing Herod’s Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1989.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


 

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7 Responses

  1. Judith Hollander says:

    It was plain fun even with flaws. Forced me to research some of the concepts.

  2. Scribe Tertius says:

    The first 5 minutes of the pilot episode has God’s name used as a curse word at least 3 times, and a sex scene. My wife and I stopped watching there. I’m pretty thick-skinned and not easily offended, but I don’t understand why the Biblical Archaeological Society would recommend this show to a presumably primarily Christian readership. I have watched “worse” shows and movies in terms of vulgar content, but to have this kind of stuff recommended as worthwhile, Bible-based entertainment is just sad.

  3. Rabbi DuBrow says:

    What I am wondering is why BAS thought it worthwhile to devote even a minute of their senior editor’s time to covering it? The archeological content was minimal. And the factual errors were glaring. IMHO, it was a poorly written, poorly directed, and poorly acted. And judging from the reviews of both critics and public, I am not alone in my opinion.

  4. Rachel says:

    With all due respect, the Essenes were not the antagonists. The major villains were a fanatical Evangelical cult – like group and a Jewish group looking to build the Third Temple and in some deranged way bring about the Messianic age. (Disclaimer: I am not using a broad brush. There are some extremists in all religious groups. Nobody has a franchise.) The group used twin boys, both named Joshua (after Jesus), not Jacob and groomed them to be Kohen Gadol. Only the Kohen Gadol could wear the breastplate. The first twin was killed because he escaped the compound and therefore became impure.
    The show’s title seems to point to biblical archaeology, but this theme is only hinted at. The so-called treasures were barely shown, and what I did glimpse of it seemed to be a cast of the menorah from Hammath Tiberias. I was disappointed but wanted to see how it would end. Better luck next time.

  5. Lola McGourty says:

    They blew it when the Jews sacrificed a lamb reciting Latin.

  6. Silverwolf says:

    I disagree that these are purely Essenes. I believe that the Qumran fellows dressed in white are a composite of the Essene Theory the majority scholarly opinion and the Sadducean community theory supported by Prof. Lawrence Schiffman, though his is a minority opinion and is still up for discussion as well as the 4th philosophy mentioned by Josephus as that of the Zealots. The Essenes were not all Ascetics, there were found in many cities at the time and a few may have had married members Sadducees split off would most likely have been the ones to get dirty in order to prevent what was going on. Per Prof Schiffman, they were against the Temple corruption and therefore were most likely to be proactive when it came to stopping a murderous 13 year old claiming the High Priests crown, while at same time maintain an Essene like asceticism, self denial, it does not seem likely that anything other then what they would interpret as a God not man induced Apocalypse, would motivate them to seek out cloak and dagger intrigues. A Sadducean or Zealot group would be more likely to step in.

  7. S Weidner says:

    I have enjoyed this series. It has sent me to myeBible several times to do some scriptural digging.

Write a Reply or Comment

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7 Responses

  1. Judith Hollander says:

    It was plain fun even with flaws. Forced me to research some of the concepts.

  2. Scribe Tertius says:

    The first 5 minutes of the pilot episode has God’s name used as a curse word at least 3 times, and a sex scene. My wife and I stopped watching there. I’m pretty thick-skinned and not easily offended, but I don’t understand why the Biblical Archaeological Society would recommend this show to a presumably primarily Christian readership. I have watched “worse” shows and movies in terms of vulgar content, but to have this kind of stuff recommended as worthwhile, Bible-based entertainment is just sad.

  3. Rabbi DuBrow says:

    What I am wondering is why BAS thought it worthwhile to devote even a minute of their senior editor’s time to covering it? The archeological content was minimal. And the factual errors were glaring. IMHO, it was a poorly written, poorly directed, and poorly acted. And judging from the reviews of both critics and public, I am not alone in my opinion.

  4. Rachel says:

    With all due respect, the Essenes were not the antagonists. The major villains were a fanatical Evangelical cult – like group and a Jewish group looking to build the Third Temple and in some deranged way bring about the Messianic age. (Disclaimer: I am not using a broad brush. There are some extremists in all religious groups. Nobody has a franchise.) The group used twin boys, both named Joshua (after Jesus), not Jacob and groomed them to be Kohen Gadol. Only the Kohen Gadol could wear the breastplate. The first twin was killed because he escaped the compound and therefore became impure.
    The show’s title seems to point to biblical archaeology, but this theme is only hinted at. The so-called treasures were barely shown, and what I did glimpse of it seemed to be a cast of the menorah from Hammath Tiberias. I was disappointed but wanted to see how it would end. Better luck next time.

  5. Lola McGourty says:

    They blew it when the Jews sacrificed a lamb reciting Latin.

  6. Silverwolf says:

    I disagree that these are purely Essenes. I believe that the Qumran fellows dressed in white are a composite of the Essene Theory the majority scholarly opinion and the Sadducean community theory supported by Prof. Lawrence Schiffman, though his is a minority opinion and is still up for discussion as well as the 4th philosophy mentioned by Josephus as that of the Zealots. The Essenes were not all Ascetics, there were found in many cities at the time and a few may have had married members Sadducees split off would most likely have been the ones to get dirty in order to prevent what was going on. Per Prof Schiffman, they were against the Temple corruption and therefore were most likely to be proactive when it came to stopping a murderous 13 year old claiming the High Priests crown, while at same time maintain an Essene like asceticism, self denial, it does not seem likely that anything other then what they would interpret as a God not man induced Apocalypse, would motivate them to seek out cloak and dagger intrigues. A Sadducean or Zealot group would be more likely to step in.

  7. S Weidner says:

    I have enjoyed this series. It has sent me to myeBible several times to do some scriptural digging.

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