Page last updated at 17:26 GMT, Sunday, 6 December 2009

Gerry Adams in 'search for Jesus'

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams will try to discover more about "the real Jesus of the Gospels"

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is to go on a journey "to discover the real Jesus" as part of a new television series for Channel 4.

Mr Adams will present one episode of the seven-part documentary series called The Bible: A History.

He is one of seven commentators from "very different backgrounds" who will explore the Bible "from their own, very personal, perspective".

Mr Adams is to examine Jesus' teachings on "love, forgiveness, and repentance".

'Contradiction'

In a statement, Channel 4 said the Sinn Fein leader would "explore different perspectives on Jesus and how he is presented in the Bible".

It added that Mr Adams, "as a former supporter of political violence" would also examine the "contradiction between Jesus' teachings and the involvement of Christians, and followers of other faiths, in conflict the world over".

This film will offer an insight into how a man so strongly associated first with conflict and then with peace in Northern Ireland, has reconciled his religion with the decisions he has taken in his life.
Ralph Lee, Channel 4

Filming is said to be currently underway, and the programme makers said Mr Adams would set out to meet scholars who put Jesus in historical context as well as victims of violence from both sides of the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland.

Other contributors include the Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe and the former BBC correspondent Rageh Omaar.

Ms Widdecombe was not aware that Mr Adams was to take part in the series when she agreed to be involved and had already filmed her own episode before she found out.

'Conflict'

She told The Times newspaper that she disapproved of the decision.

Mr Adams, who is 61, has been president of Sinn Fein for 26 years.

Security force assessments contend he held a number of senior positions within the Provisional IRA.

However, he has always denied being a member of the paramilitary organisation which was responsible for nearly 2,000 deaths during the Troubles.

Ralph Lee, who is the head of Channel 4's "specialist factual" output said the programme would "offer an insight into how a man so strongly associated first with conflict and then with peace in Northern Ireland, has reconciled his religion with the decisions he has taken in his life".



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