Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Bible: The Mini-Series - A Review

The Lord be with you

The Bible: The Mini-Series – A Review

This past weekend the History Channel aired the first of a five-part mini-series with the ambitious goal of presenting the entire Bible. Having watched the first episode, some preliminary observations are possible.


First, as I anticipated, there is no way anyone could cover the entire Bible in only ten hours (five two-hour episodes). Hugh portions of the Bible will be skipped, including some very well-known portions. Some of the skipped portions are covered through dialogue among the characters. So, for example, the Creation is not depicted, but Noah tells his family about it while in the Ark. As he speaks some visuals are provided. Other skipped portions are added with a narrator’s voice. However, the portions provided by the narrator are highly condensed. For example, everything about Isaac as an adult, Jacob (Israel), Joseph and his brothers, is covered in a sentence or two. There is no Tower of Babel, no Jacob and Rebekah, no Joseph with his fabulous coat, time in prison, or rise in Egypt, no golden calf incident, to name a few omitted events. So the first five books of the Bible (sort of) fit into a two hour episode.

Israelites in slavery
I have a couple of theological issues. First, it is said that Adam and Eve, in disobeying God, discovered good and evil. This is not so, and it is a significant theological error. Adam and Eve already knew good. They also knew evil from a theoretical perspective. That is to say, they knew disobeying God was wrong, evil, etc. When they disobeyed God they learned about evil from an experiential perspective. Before all they knew from an experiential perspective was good. After disobedience, they knew both.

Next theological issue comes when the narrator says that following God was both a blessing and a curse for Abraham. Following God is never a curse. It may be hard, and at times it was very hard for Abraham. Few would ever have the faith he had and be able to pass the tests he passed. But following God was never a curse for Abraham.

They did something with the Ark of the Covenant that really surprised me, they got it right. Most artists renditions of the Ark have the Cherubim that are on top of the Ark look like strong men with wings. However the book of Ezekiel gives a detailed description of Cherubim and they look far more like a sphinx than they do a man. As you see the Ark go by in this production, it seems someone actually read the Biblical description.

The special effects are good. The acting is good. The sets, costumes, etc., are all good. This series will never replace reading the Bible. But, then, I don’t think the people working on it expect it to. It will be an excellent introduction for many to some of the great Biblical stories. Who knows, with the voice of the narrator indicating that portions are being skipped over, perhaps some will be drawn to read the stories right from the source.

I plan to keep watching.

Blessings in Christ,

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