Sundance Channel has scheduled a Christmas week premiere for Paul Davids’ documentary Jesus in India, which examines controversial theories and legends that place a traveling Jesus Christ in India. Written, directed and produced by Davids, the film will debut as part of the Channel’s regular Monday DOCday programming on Monday, December 22nd at 9:00pm et/pt.
Jesus in India explores questions surrounding Jesus’ whereabouts from the ages of 12 to 30, a period variously known as the “Hidden Years” or “Lost Years.” The New Testament offers no detailed description about His activities during that period; the only reference to those 18 years is a single sentence in the Gospel of Luke. Leading the film’s investigation of these years is Edward T. Martin, the author of the new book “Jesus in India: King of Wisdom – The Making of the Film & New Findings on Jesus’ Lost Years,” and he also authored the previous book that inspired this motion picture, “King of Travelers: Jesus’ Lost Years in India” (either book available upon request). Martin dates his curiosity about the “Hidden Years” back to his youth in Lampasas, Texas, where he was raised as a member of the fundamentalist Church of Christ. While working as Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan in 1974, Martin had his first encounter with East Asian accounts of the historic Jesus Christ – including the Indian legend that the young Jesus joined a caravan and took the Silk Road to the East, where He lived in India with both Hindus and Buddhists before returning to the Holy Land to begin His ministry.
Jesus in India follows Martin as he travels through India in search of documentary evidence of Jesus’ presence in the region. The journey spans some 4,000 miles, including a visit to the Hemis Monastery in the Himalayan Mountains, where an ancient Tibetan manuscript about Jesus is said to be housed. The film also delves into other astonishing stories concerning Jesus’ possible presence in the region, including the legend that Jesus survived the crucifixion and secretly returned to India, where he lived out his days.
As it attempts to sort legend from history, Jesus in India presents all points of view through interviews with respected theologians and religious authorities of the world’s major faiths. Scholars appearing in the film include Princeton University Professor Elaine Pagels, author of “Beyond Belief: The Gospel of Thomas”; Professors Alan C. Mitchell and Anthony Tambasco of Georgetown University; and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Professor of Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School. Representing Buddhist and Hindu viewpoints are the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the world’s Buddhists, and, in a rare interview, the 145th Shankaracharya, one of Hinduism’s four ecclesiastical leaders. Among the others joining in the film’s lively discussion are the late Monsignor Corrado Balducci, Apostolic Nuncio of the Vatican; historian/author Michael Hesemann, a Vatican-accredited journalist; and Brother Chidananda, director of publications at the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), the spiritual movement founded in the 1920’s by Indian sage/teacher/author/philosopher Paramahansa Yogananda. According to noted critic Pete Hammond, “Jesus in India is a fascinating and profound film, a deeply spiritual journey certain to make you think and question in ways you never have before.”