Alan Yuhas writes
The scriptures according to basic cable make a mockery of history and religion. Surely all these viewers deserve better.
The History Channel more or less abandoned the pretext of history years ago. As programs like “UFO Hunters”, “Swamp People” and “Hairy Bikers” added up, the network’s decision to broadcast The Bible as a mini-series seemed like an obvious disaster. It is, too, in all ways except one: ratings. The scriptures according to basic cable don’t purport to be historical, but they’re about as bad and cynical as TV can be.
I don’t necessarily question the sincerity of the head producers, Mark Burnett, the creator of the reality show Survivor, and his wife, Roma Downey; they’ve said this is their “calling” and want to alleviate “Bible illiteracy”. I do question their methods, however, not to mention the results.
The producers pre-screened the show to religious leaders, picking up endorsements from mega-church pastors Rick Warren and Joel Osteenand a “partnership” with the World Evangelical Alliance. Christian dating sites jumped on board, and even Walmart has aggressively promoted the show. All this for a readymade audience. … Nobody expected art – or even history – from the History Channel, but the producers veered so far in the opposite direction that they erased all the personality and depth of the source, not to mention heart or wit. The History Channel has given us the Bible as reality TV. The result amounts to little more than an exploitation of faith. Everyone – believers, nonbelievers, anyone who appreciates a good story or TV series – deserves better.
Yes indeed! Getting Osteen and Warren’s views on the Bible is akin to getting the KKK’s opinion on a policy statement by the NAACP. Indeed, the very fact that they endorsed it should shoot off flares and raise red flags for anyone remotely concerned with an accurate telling of the Biblical story.
Read the whole eviscerating and filleting of the series.
Over at the ASOR blog. In part
… the History Channel has produced a biblical epic with virtually no actors from contemporary corollaries of biblical lands, so the North African (Moroccan) actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouzaani is highly visible as Satan in a production where the Israelites are portrayed by white actors. I have previously addressed the use of race in the series here and here and here. The History Channel is responsible for what it broadcasts just as the producers, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, and their casting agents are responsible for the product they produce.
I can’t say whether the resemblance between the Satan character is intentional or not, or present or not if it is not visible to some viewers. I can say that the casting of this actor for this role was an intentional one. He looked the part to someone. Whether that was because of a resemblance to the President of the United States in full makeup or because he is a North African is equally problematic.
Etc. Wil does a good job in pointing out the many subtle ways in which the miniseries misrepresents the Biblical text.
Commercial success should never be confused with the truth. And the truth isn’t determined by whether or not something is commercially successful. Rubbish sells, frequently better than the truth does. Remember ‘Left Behind’? Enough said.
Having produced a film it’s just natural that these ‘experts’ on the Bible turn their ‘explanation’ into a book…
via Bryan Bibb on FB
I doubt the book will be an improvement on the film. The disinformation, misinformation, and downright falsehoods propagated by the tv special can hardly escape being absent here. If you can hold off a month or two you’ll find plenty of copies on ebay for a dollar if you just enjoy reading garbage.
First, I’m not watching- but the folk at Fuller are and here’s their observation from last night’s showing of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s go at defacing the Bible-
Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy — skipped in their entirety. No wilderness wandering (and no golden calf). Not a whiff of poetry, not a hint of torah. Call it what you want, this is not the Bible.
Sounds like I’m not missing anything.
- Why Mark Burnett’s ‘The Bible’ is Rubbish (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Ugh (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
The Daily Mail informs us that the Bible special airing beginning tonight produced by Mark Burnett …
… might not be the best adaptation of a Bible story ever filmed, but it could be the most attractive. The Bible, a ten-hour miniseries starting Sunday on the History Channel, has high production values and an impossibly beautiful cast. Even the actor who plays Jesus, Portuguese heart-throb Diogo Morado, has a background in modeling.
Ugh. Just ugh. Could Mr Burnett be any more shallow?
Mind you- I have nothing but respect for the academics who will appear as talking heads- but I doubt – given Burnett’s mentality- than any of them will be ‘unattractive’. And I still have to wonder how much of what they have said has been largely destroyed thanks to editing. Or how much will be destroyed when Joel Osteen opens his theologically ignorant maw (yes, evidently according to reports he too is a talking head. God have mercy).
The Bible shallow-ified. Ain’t Hollywood great…
In Spring next year, History Channel will be airing a new ten-part series entitled The Bible. It dramatizes key narratives from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and it is executive produced by Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel). It is produced by Lightworkers Media. There are short Wikipedia and IMDB entries which will no doubt get expanded as the air date approaches.
We’ve had scholars and theologians help. We’re not pretending to be biblical experts. We brought experts in once the scripts were created to take a look at the scripts to make sure we were accurate and true to the Bible, but obviously we’re making a movie, and so we breathed creative expansion into that.”
All this via Mark Goodacre who was consulted for the project. And though I trust Mark, I don’t trust Hollywood (or as I call it, Hollow-wood) which is just as likely to leave good scholarship on the cutting room floor as it is to include absolute nonsensical rubbish. So, I’ll be skeptical till given reason not to be. Why? Because for every Goodacre on the project we have to wonder how many Jacobovicis there are. It is the History Channel after all. Their track record on such projects has been profoundly abysmal.
In my estimation, Bible Films are guilty (of misrepresentation) till proven innocent. I can’t help it. I’ve been burned too many times by them.