A couple of weeks ago, I watched a fantastic documentary from Nova called "The Bible's Buried Secrets". As people who know me are well aware, this sort of thing is like crack to me. It essentially looks at the very early history of the Israelite people by means of a combination of approaches and creating a synthesis which is very compelling to me. They seek to disentangle the actual history of these people from the various strands of mythology which you find in the bible. And it does treat this book as mythology, and moreover, a sort of Frankensteineian hodge-podge of four DIFFERENT mythological traditions which were spliced, over the course of centuries, into the early books of the Torah (or "Old Testament" as the Christians somewhat condescendingly call it). It doesn't do so in an unfriendly or hostile way at all; it approaches the early history of this people as an engaging historical saga which has been obscured and confused by a series of myths which nevertheless served various useful purposes to the culture of this struggling people. It goes into a number of different corroborating sources for different elements of the story being told, many drawn from archaeological digs performed in the area over the last sixty years or so, mainly by Israeli archaeologists who have a vested interest in discerning the truth of their own early history.
I've shown this film to a number of friends, who have all enjoyed it tremendously, and I suspect many of you will as well. I know I fully plan on buying the DVD when it becomes available for sale in February.
For the time being, the entire thing can be viewed for free by Americans at Nova's page for the film here: http://www.pbs.org/nova/bible
For those outside of the US, there are a number of opportunities. For example, some helpful soul has broken it up into 12 parts and posted them on YouTube, the first of which I post here:
If that's not to your tastes (as Youtube video quality can be a little on the weak side), there's always the torrent option : http://www.mininova.org/tor/2030190