Living With The Gods-logo

Living With The Gods

BBC

Neil MacGregor explores the role and expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world. Produced in partnership with the British Museum.

Neil MacGregor explores the role and expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world. Produced in partnership with the British Museum.
More Information

Location:

London, United Kingdom

Networks:

BBC

Description:

Neil MacGregor explores the role and expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world. Produced in partnership with the British Museum.

Language:

English


Episodes

Living with Each Other

12/1/2017
More
Neil MacGregor concludes his series on how shared beliefs have shaped societies. He began with the Lion Man, an object created 40 000 years ago, and now reflects on the present, on the future and on hope. Producer Paul Kobrak The series is produced in partnership with the British Museum, with the assistance of Dr Christopher Harding, University of Edinburgh. Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

Duration:00:14:06

The Search for a State

11/30/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series on shared beliefs with a look at the attempts of some faiths to establish a state of their own. An over-printed coin from 2nd century Jerusalem tells of the failed attempt of Shimon bar Kokhba to lay claim to a state for the Jews, free from Roman rule - while a white cotton flag, framed in pale blue, flew over Sudan after it had been taken by Mahdist forces and before the Islamic state collapsed in the mid 1890s. Producer Paul Kobrak Produced in...

Duration:00:14:10

Turning the Screw

11/29/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series on shared beliefs with a focus on those faiths seen as a threat to the state. A plain board, to be found on a 17th-century Japanese roadside, offers generous rewards to anyone who informs on Christians. At almost exactly the same time a print from France depicts the officially sanctioned destruction of a Huguenot Church just a few miles east of Paris. Producer Paul Kobrak Produced in partnership with the British Museum Photograph (c) The Trustees of the...

Duration:00:14:33

Living with No Gods

11/28/2017
More
Neil MacGregor focuses on societies which aimed to live without religious beliefs. Neil examines a revolutionary clock, from around 1795, created in the wake of the French Revolution, and designed to mark a new way of living: in an age of reason, there would no longer be royalism or religion in France. A poster from the Soviet Union celebrates the apparent triumph of scientific progress: the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin floats in space, looks out and proclaims 'There is no God!'. It seems that...

Duration:00:14:24

Ruling with the Gods

11/27/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series on shared beliefs with a focus on earthly rulers and the gods. Queens and kings may be priests of the gods, or their representatives. They may be incarnations - or even gods themselves. Or the relationship may be so close that to divide spiritual from temporal power at all would simply make no sense. Neil examines these ideas, with the help of objects including a bronze staff belonging to the Oba of Benin, and a bronze vessel from China, whose...

Duration:00:14:16

Gods Living Together

11/24/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series about the expression of shared beliefs with a focus on how faiths co-exist in India. Producer Paul Kobrak Produced in partnership with the British Museum Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

Duration:00:14:33

Global Gods, Local Needs

11/23/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series about the expression of shared beliefs with a focus on gods can reach new communities, and how those communities can then adapt and change the faiths. Producer Paul Kobrak Produced in partnership with the British Museum Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

Duration:00:14:22

The Other Side of the Leaf

11/22/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series about the expression of shared beliefs with a focus on societies who believe that they share the landscape with co-inhabitants who are not visible but are present. Such belief systems can be found in places such as the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. It is difficult, Neil MacGregor suggests, to express this relationship with the landscape in the English language. Words such as spirits, gods or beings do not adequately convey the nature of the...

Duration:00:14:16

Living with One God

11/21/2017
More
Neil MacGregor's series on the role and expression of beliefs continues with a focus on societies and faiths with a single god. Using objects from both ancient Babylon and ancient Egypt, Neil examines how one god could become central to worship in these societies. Producer Paul Kobrak Produced in partnership with the British Museum Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

Duration:00:14:22

Living with Many Gods

11/20/2017
More
Neil MacGregor's series on the role and expression of beliefs continues with a focus on societies living with many gods. In the mid-1840s, a Roman earthenware jar was dug from the earth near Felmingham Hall in Norfolk. Inside, excavators found several belief systems, all mixed up together - for buried in the pot was a jumble of gods, deities of different kinds and origins, that tell us what it meant for people in Roman Britain around the year 250 to be living with many gods. The great...

Duration:00:14:11

Rejecting the Image

11/16/2017
More
Neil MacGregor's series on the role and expression of beliefs continues with a reflection on faiths which focus on the word rather than the image. A striking cobalt blue mosque lamp, from around 1570, shows an Islamic way of doing honour to the word: calligraphy. In Jewish religious ceremonies a yad - a small silver rod with a little hand and a pointing index finger - is used to follow the text during readings from the Torah, to avoid any damage to the delicate parchment. Producer Paul...

Duration:00:14:11

Change Your Life

11/16/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series about the expression of shared beliefs with a focus on images which seek to change the viewer's behaviour. A small coloured wood-cut, created in the Netherlands around 1500, offers a particularly gruesome rendering of Christ's crucifixion. Christ is pictured with blood pouring from his torso, his head, his legs and his outstretched arms. These are not realistically arranged droplets; instead we see a flurry of vertical red strokes, tightly packed...

Duration:00:14:15

The Making of Meaning

11/15/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series about the expression of shared beliefs with a focus on how we come to comprehend sacred images. Our understanding of the rock art created by the San people of southern Africa over many centuries is helped by written accounts, so that what first appears to be an image of a hunting expedition becomes a record of a spiritual journey into another realm of experience. "For many years it was a matter of gaze and guess," says David Lewis Williams, an authority...

Duration:00:14:24

Replicating the Divine

11/14/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series on the expression of shared beliefs with a focus on the making of divine images. For the painter of a Russian religious icon, the paramount purpose is the continuation of a tradition, in which the painter seeks only to take his proper place, creating an image which opens a gateway to the divine. The Hindu goddess Durga is at the centre of the popular annual festival of Durga Puja, where communities create images of the goddess in everyday materials -...

Duration:00:14:18

The Protectoresses

11/13/2017
More
Neil MacGregor's series on the role and expression of beliefs continues this week with a focus on images. In Mexico, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe came not from the hand of an artist, but was directly given from heaven - according to its history. Our Lady of Guadalupe is now the most powerful of presiding images, and the Basilica of Guadalupe near Mexico City is said to be the most visited Roman Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. The sanctuary of the goddess Artemis in the great...

Duration:00:14:22

Theatres of Faith

11/10/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues the omnibus editions of his series on the expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world and across time. In this programme he considers the importance that religious traditions attach to public rituals - where members of the community are both participants and spectators, helping to create spiritual and social cohesion. He explore the journeys of pilgrims, the ritual acts of offerings and sacrifice, and the creation of sacred buildings - through...

Duration:00:14:27

To Be a Pilgrim

11/9/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series on the expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world and across time, and focuses on pilgrimage, and its role in Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Producer Paul Kobrak Produced in partnership with the British Museum Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

Duration:00:14:21

Holy Killing

11/8/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series on the expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world and across time, and focuses on sacrifice.. Displayed in the British Museum is a finely-crafted Aztec knife, dating from around 1500, with a richly-decorated handle. It had a brutal purpose - human sacrifice. In ancient Greece, animal sacrifice was a vital ritual for connection with the deities: the grounds of a Greek temple were in part a sacred public slaughter-house. Producer Paul...

Duration:00:14:19

Gifts to the Gods

11/7/2017
More
Neil MacGregor continues his series on the expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world and across time, and focuses on offerings. High in the Andes in Colombia, the indigenous Muisca population consigned highly-wrought gold figurines to the waters of Lake Guatavita. Records of the treasures stored in the Parthenon, Athens, dating from around 400BC, reveal numerous gifts for the goddess Athena - gifts with a double role. The Parthenon was also a kind of central bank,...

Duration:00:14:16

The House of God

11/6/2017
More
Neil MacGregor's series on the role and expression of beliefs continues with a focus on the creation of sacred spaces, built for encountering or engaging with the divine. Stone tablets in the British Museum detail how a temple was designed and formed in Mesopotamia about 4000 years ago - the first sacred space for which we have a written record. It was a god's home, complete with private areas crafted to meet his every need: kitchens and dining rooms, family rooms and spaces for guests....

Duration:00:14:15