UWTSD Academic features in CNN documentary


A lecturer from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has taken part in a CNN documentary entitled, Finding Jesus: Fact, Faith, Forgery.

Dr Matthew Cobb

Dr Matthew Cobb - a lecturer in Ancient History at the University’s Lampeter campus and an expert of ancient Roman Imperial history - took part in an episode on ‘Doubting Thomas’, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles.

The episode examines Thomas’ story outside of the New Testament, in particular the Christian traditions connecting him with India. Today seven million Indian Christians believe that Thomas travelled to the subcontinent where he founded one of the world’s earliest churches

Having initially been contacted by the production company, Nutopia, to help with their research, Dr Cobb was soon asked to take part in the programme for his expertise on Roman trade in the Indian Ocean.

“The documentary looks at the fact and the fiction around Jesus, the apostles and those people surrounding him.  My role in the documentary was to look at the historical aspect of the story and the tradition of Thomas’ journey to India.

So is it feasible think that one of Jesus’s disciples could have journeyed to India from the Middle East in the First Century AD?

“Indeed, it’s perfectly plausible that he could have travelled to India,” says Matthew. 

“Many many ships sailed from the Red Sea ports of Egypt that were controlled by the Romans.  They’d travel to India, trading for spices, aromatics, silks, precious gems, pearls and so on.  They’d then sail back to Egypt once their transactions had been made.”

During the episode, Dr Cobb goes on to discuss the sailing routes to India from the Mediterranean world, and what this might tell viewers about the possible route that Thomas the Apostle may have taken.

He also considers the monsoon winds that sailors may have followed to reach India and the types of hazards they’d likely face along the route.

A number of scholars from international institutions appear in the documentary alongside Dr Matthew Cobb, including fellow historians as well as archaeologists and theologians from Oxford University, Columbia University, University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, Duke University, Fordham University, the British Museum and the Kerala Council for Historical Research. 

Dr Cobb teaches on the Ancient History programmes within the University’s Faculty of Humanities and Performance.

He mainly teaches Roman Imperial history, but lectures in social history and the ancient Greek language.

Dr Matthew Cobb also enjoys undertaking research led teaching relating to Graeco-Roman contact with the East, and in particular, with Central Asia and India.

The episode on ‘Doubting Thomas’ which features Dr Cobb – the finale in the Finding Jesus: Fact, Faith, Forgery series - will air in the USA on CNN this Sunday.  A date for the UK release has yet to be confirmed.

For more information on the series, go to http://edition.cnn.com/shows/finding-jesus

Further Information


For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476