Monday, March 4, 2013

The Bible - Did You Watch It?

The Bible Trailer

Last night we watched the two hour premiere of "The Bible"  on the History Channel.  

I woke up yesterday and checked facebook and saw that one of my friends who is a missionary in India had asked the question, "Is there any where I can watch The Bible on the history channel here in Dehli?"  I didn't give it much thought.  But later in the day I found a link on about it.  You can read that article here.  

I learned that Mark Burnett who has worked on a lot of the popular reality tv shows worked on this 10 hour mini series.  Mark's wife is Roma Downey from touched by an angel.  I was intrigued, so we watched the first two hours with my grandparents, here in Florida, last night.  

A friend that we met with on this trip had recently visited Italy and was commenting on the stained glass in cathedrals and how it told the story of the bible through pictures, because people were illiterate and didn't have access to the Bible.  

It made me wonder what the equivalent to stained glass bible stories would be today.  I think this might be it.  

Watching it was interesting.  I had to go back and look to see if certain things were actually in the Bible.  I didn't remember the angels in Sodom striking the people outside the door with blindness, it must have been something I skimmed over, probably still in shock from Lot offering his daughters to the crowd!  (Which Mark chose to leave out.)  I wasn't sure if the blindness was just artistic interpertation or if it really happened.  But it's there.  Gen 19

Last nights episode started out with Noah telling the creation story to his children, then highlighted Abraham's life and then skipped to Moses freeing the people then ended with Joshua and Jericho.  

There were parts that were a bit cheesy to me, like why do I hear Irish sounding accents?  (Probably because the producers are from England and Ireland) And I don't think that they had those types of swords in those days either, hardened steel came much later.  I also read a review that quipped about the angels turning into ninja's.  Complain, complain, critique, critique.  Nonetheless, I'm eager to tune in again next week, if we can.  

I joked with some of my bible school friends asking them if they thought Mark charted (the name for the style of inductive bible study we did in school) before he set out to make this film.  

One of the reviews I read said they were not sure who the intended audience was for the film.  I wonder what I would think watching this if I had no knowledge of the Bible.  

It was nice to watch and hear the bible.  Stories of the bible were originally TOLD orally, so there is a listening aspect to it that we miss out on when we just read it.  Overall I enjoyed it, it's fun to SEE and be reminded of the stories of the Bible.  

Engage:  Did you see The Bible last night on the History Channel?  What did you think?  Let us know in the comments.  


  1. I've been pondering this for the last couple of days. We didn't watch the show - I was half tempted to, but then I realized how much I wish I could get images from Superbook and the Ten Commandments out of my head whenever I read those parts of the Bible. So I opted out of watching it.

    True, of course, traditional iconography in stained glass (and eastern iconography in wood and paint) did speak to the illiterate audience. Of course I wonder about the wisdom of modern visual arts, especially when we have an audience that is - more or less - quite literate. The difference between watching a movie and contemplating a traditional icon is that a movie by nature aims at a kind of barren realism which isolates the event or person depicted and risks our misunderstanding, whereas icons usually display people and events as they pertain to the whole of Scripture. That is to say, movies can push a theological agenda, but icons actually make a theological point. When I read Scripture, I want the festal icons of Christ taking Adam's hand and leading him out of Hades, or John the Baptist with his hand on Jesus' head, the Spirit lighting on him and the demons fleeing in the water, not the cheesy shots you get from TCM Sunday night re-runs, which this new Bible series is bound to become in another generation. These counterfeits in no way enlighten us as to the significance of what we are witnessing. There is something tellingly perennial in the icons that movies and modern art just can't touch. That said, there's no reason to seek a modern alternative to the traditional mode of portraying biblical themes and person, because art that speaks to the depth of the human person will always speak to the depth of the human person.

  2. thanks for your thoughts Dan!


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