As I watched The Bible last night I had in mind titling my note this morning, “not as bad as I expected.” Unfortunately for my title, Peter Enns managed a better one: “The Bible” on the History Channel: Not the Absolute Train Wreck I Thought it Would Be. I also generally agree with his comments, though I think he may be reading a bit more into the minds of the producers regarding Abraham’s visitor as the pre-incarnate Christ than is actually there. Considering neither of us can read the producers’ minds, however, we’ll have to wait until one of them says something about it.
The History Channel is my greatest disappointment on television since I switched to cable. I had excessively high expectations of the value of having that channel, and all of those expectations have been repeatedly disappointed. Further, I’m terribly skeptical of Bible related movies and shows. I watch them mostly because people in my Sunday School class are likely to ask me what I thought. I judge them by whether I’d prefer that students have watched them or not.
In this case, I think I’d prefer students watch the series. Yes, there are abbreviations and dramatizations, but overall the movie is faithful to the broad themes of the scriptures involved. Considering the abysmal level of biblical literacy amongst Christians, that has to be helpful.
I would note that the series is not attempting to adjust the story to history, or consider the possibility of miracles (or not). It is just telling the story with some dramatic license.
I’ll continue to watch. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than average.