History Channel - The Bible (series thread)

I missed the second episode, so I’m a bit late, but just wanted to say - I loved the first, but probably not why you think.

  1. The Angel-sword fighting in Sodom - hilarious. Full-out action sequence. Chinese Angel dual wielding! Giant broadsword! Spinning attack! Awesome.

  2. Both Abraham and Moses come off as complete lunatics, constantly doing crazy things because of voices only they can hear. Obviously, since it’s based off the Bible, they’re eventually proven correct (Abraham’s wife suddenly is able to conceive, Moses gets the plagues and Red Sea parted, etc) but until then everyone else is treating them like a crazy person. Love it.

  3. The actor they got for Pharaoh was awesome. MOOOOOOOSESEEEEEEEES!

All I can say was, I was entertained. I also got a kick out of super-WASPy Jesus in the previews, when almost everyone else has pretty much been cast with Arab- or Jewish-looking actors.

  1. In the promos, there was an interview with the Chinese Angel actor. He was totally having fun with his role.

  2. As well they should.

  3. I was thinking Pharoah was Alfred Molina. Totally unrelated aside- in the TNT Moses movie starring Ben Kingsley, the Pharoah under whom Moses was raised was Christopher Lee while the Pharoah of the Exodus was Frank Langella… both Draculas.

LIKE Button!!!

His mom is going to be played by Mrs. Burnett, Roma-Downey-Ever-Virgin, who judging from her interviews and op-eds is an amazingly devout Catholic for somebody who’s been married three times.

The NBC 1985 miniseries A.D. which blends the history of the Caesars, Tiberius to Nero, with the Acts of the Apostles, & a fictional subplot about a Jewish slave turned Gladiator. It was a star-studded (James Mason as Tiberius, for example) “sequel” to Jesus of Nazareth, both scripted by Anthony Burgess, who also wrote novels off both projects (“Man of Nazareth” and “Kingdom of the Wicked”). It’s only available in an edited 6 hr (of the original 9) DVD so far. You may find it intact on YouTube if you hurry.

Peter and Paul (1981), I think for CBS, starring Robert Foxworth and ANTHONY HOPKINS!!!

There has also been a Visual Bible production of ACTS and various other Christian movies about the Apostles.

OH! and 1951’s Quo Vadis!

Just saw the first episode. I never knew that the ancient near east had such a large amount of people of NW European descent. Unless they were the baddies that is.:rolleyes:
Is it just me, but was there a distinct lack of sodomy in Sodom? I know that gay=evil, deserved to be smited with burning rocks from the heavens, is not exactly politically correct… but thats the source material. What next, George Washington having a gay pride week at Valley Forge?>

The Moses bit was poorly done I think. When Ramses is crying over his son’s body and swears that he will make the Israelite s construct a great tomb for the little one I was thinking, that is the least they could do. I do not think they quite got the story’s effect right, when you are feeling sorry for the baddies despite the intention of the storyteller, that is never a good thing. Compare Yul Brenner in the Ten Commandments.

That was cut out for the same reason I suspect that homosexuality was left out of Sodom… easy to offend people.

And finally, they did go into the Sinai when escaping from the Phroah’s Armies. Never understood that since at that time the Sinai or Canaan was about about as safe from Egyptian troops as Afghanistan or Germany is from American troops.

I remember thinking Moses was a giant asshole in Ten Commandments, he treated Nefertiti like shit too.

EDIT: Also everytime Moses was making a grand anti-slavery speech I wanted someone to start reading the old testament:)

The Asian ninja angel was about the last straw for me. The fighting scene between Moses and Ramses seemed taken right out of the Charleton Heston movie, and wasn’t the pharaoh in this the same guy that was the pharaoh in the Mummy movies?

God said their sin was contempt for the poor and hubris.

The notion of whether the men of Sodom wanted to ‘know’ the angels as in “to rape them” (which is not a regular meaning of the verb ya’da that is used) or to know them as in “who are these strange men?” has been debated on these boards many times and is a centuries old argument, but while traditionally the crime of Sodom was sodomy it’s not clear at all that was the intent. (And, as mentioned, you can see a transvestite in that scene in the History Channel show as a dog whistle to the traditional interpretation.)

While I’m not an OT scholar, for narrative purposes the “we want to know who these guys are and find out what they’re up to and, probably, kill them” meaning seems more likely when you consider the lead up. Consider these facts:

-Sodom and Gomorrah had very recently been conquered and the people enslaved by a coalition of five kings. They had only recently been freed, and therefore any fear they have of strangers in their city is not paranoia or xenophobia, but justified.

-Why were they no longer enslaved? Because they had been freed by a nomadic warlord so powerful that he was able to defeat the five kings who had defeated Sodom and Gomorrah. It stands to reason that if he could defeat their captors, he could defeat S&G themselves any time he wanted to. Who was this warlord? Abraham, the uncle and practically the adoptive father of Lot, who was new to the city.

-Two men show up in town. There is something very odd about them. While Genesis does not give a description of the angels, it’s very clear that usually when you see angels you know (yada?) that they are not from Milwaukee- Abraham knew instantly when he saw them what they were, and half the time in their dealings with humans they begin with “Don’t be afraid” (unless they’re there to kill and destroy, in which case they dispense with formalities).

So, two strangers who are very identifiably “not quite right” show up in a paranoid recently conquered city and they go straight to the home of a newcomer whose uncle/adoptive father is a powerful warlord who could plunder and destroy the city himself anytime he wishes. Given these options:

-The men of Sodom want to know who the hell these weird ominous looking strangers at the house of the warlord’s relative are

or

-They wanna get their freak on

Which honestly makes more sense?

Also take into consideration the words from Ezekiel: they are inhospitable to the strangers, and to Lot (even though they owe their freedom to Lot’s uncle).

Of course an almost identical story is told later in Judges 19. A Levite and his concubine, in which the mob wants to “know” the visitors and the Levite gives them his concubine to gang rape like Lot offered his daughters. The difference is that when the Levite offers his concubine as a consolation prize, the crowd takes her and rapes her and she dies.

King Nebuchadnezzar went insane? I don’t recall that in the story. It’s been years since I read about the three guys in the furnace. But, I can’t recall the King going nuts.

This article doesn’t mention it either. <shrug> Time to reread this scripture.
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/people/g/nebuchadnezzar.htm

The Babylon dudes sure rock the guyliner. :smiley: Daniel is ripped with washboard abs. LOL I guess in fairness he’s supposed to be thin because he is technically a slave. A slave in the high court but I guess he still didn’t get fed much. Not a lot of meat for the lions. But Daniel was protected by God. No meal until the King threw the conniving court plotter into the den.

I always suspected the rulers cheated by rubbing down the victims in lard or blood before throwing them in the lion’s den.

I like the depiction of Mary’s pregnancy and Joesph’s reaction. No elaborate special effects when she’s divinely impregnated. Simple is better. The birth in Bethlehem and visit by the three Magi was also well done. I didn’t even recognize Roma Downey. She’s changed a lot in the decade since Touched By An Angel.

Was it the historian Josephus that wrote about the Jewish rebellion and the Roman massacre afterward? Fairly predictable behavior for the Romans. They were ruthless in putting down rebellions in any of their territories.

I reread Daniel 4. I quickly recalled the story of Nebuchadnezzar in the fields eating grass for seven years. I would have recognized it if the History channel had used that story. But seeing him in a prison cell insane didn’t spark my memory. They also failed to acknowledge that Nebuchadnezzar returned to even greater power and prominence seven years later.

Overall, this was my favorite episode so far. They took some dramatic license fleshing out certain events. But I’m impressed how efficiently they covered so much material in only 2 hours.

I don’t know if this has been mentioned and I don’t know how accurate this review from HuffPo is, but this series appears to be primarily an evangelical rather than historical work.

Given that Lot offered the crowd his daughters in place of the visitors, I don’t think there’s any question that they wanna get their freak on. The fact that Ezekiel drew a different (or additional) moral from the story over a thousand years later doesn’t seem very compelling to me.

The Book of Daniel contains several gross errors about historical events that Daniel should have known first-hand. Strangely, it does better with events that occurred several centuries after Daniel died.

Fundamentalists deduce from this that historians are wrong, and that prophecy is amazingly accurate. Commie hippie “scholars” deduce from this that Daniel was completed in the 2nd century BCE, rather than its traditional date of the 6th century BCE.

Wasn’t Daniel like Revelation - one of those books that almost didn’t make it into the canon?

I read that the producers (Roma Downey and Mark Burnett) are devout Catholics. I’m sure they’re beliefs were a driving force behind making the series.

YMMV but so far I’ve found the retelling of the Old Testament stories reasonably restrained and straight forward. It’s up to each viewer to decide how they react to the stories. For some it’s entertainment and others see it as an expression of their faith.

I hope they can keep a somewhat neutral viewpoint in the New Testament episodes. It won’t be easy. Billy Graham made a fifty year career out of preaching from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Gospels are rich material for any evangelical preacher.

We’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully they’ll keep a mainstream viewpoint and won’t start proselytizing. I think it would be a mistake if they did.

I haven’t watched the show but I’ve studied the old and new testaments from an academic point of view as well as some of the ancient near eastern history of periods when important sections were being written and personally I think they do the audience a disservice by just lifting stories from the text without any archaeological or historical background not to mention textual analysis - which doesn’t have to be all that dry btw.

However if it’s being presented as entertainment rather than history, I suppose that’s fine. I suspect that any disclaimers if they have them will be in the fine print, but that’s the choice of the History Channel I suppose.

So when they get to the part with a heavenly choir of angels proclaiming the birth of the Son of God, you want them to play it straight, without any proselytizing? :slight_smile:

Actually, I just finished watching the second showing, and they were as mainstream as can be. They even had the Magi visiting the newborn Jesus in the stable, thus conflating the two completely separate and contradictory accounts in Matthew and Luke, just as you see in most Christmas pageants

Do they have anything planned for the Acts of the Apostles or is just going to be the gospels? That could be worthwhile. IIRC, I think there are a few places in there that show the role that women had in the early church for example.

never mind - checked wiki before posting and only covers through the gospels - too bad.