(DVD Review) “The Bible” Miniseries by the History Channel


Reviewed By: Jeff Greene

Church: Rose Drive Friends Church, Yorba Linda, California

Cross-posted from the Rose Drive Friends Church Blog, with permission by the author.


History Channel's "The Bible" DVD SeriesINTRODUCTION

Title: The Bible: The Epic Miniseries

Produced By: Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for the History Channel

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Publication Date: 2013

Format: DVD

Length: 10 one hour segments, 440 minutes

OVERVIEW

This impressively legitimate and well-produced re-telling of many of the Bible’s most famous and important stories was (surprisingly) originally run on the cable television network “The History Channel,” over five consecutive Sunday nights in March [2013]. The finale, featuring the death and resurrection of Christ, was broadcast on Easter Sunday, with huge ratings that impressed Hollywood and the national media. It was the first scripted show from producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor” and “Celebrity Apprentice”) and his wife, Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”).

If you’re a hardcore Bible purist, you will have a few problems with the series, but even the producers say in a statement at the beginning of each episode, “This program is an adaptation of Bible stories. It endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the book.” By that standard, they seem to have done a pretty good job. Yes, they maintain the popular culture version of the Christmas story (where the wise men arrive at the manger), and Abraham found a ram, rather than a lamb, when he was about to sacrifice Isaac, and a few other relatively minor items were adjusted, but none of them hurt the theme or the larger Bible story.

They did add a few things to the Bible, some of which (like the aqueduct riots during the time of Jesus) come from contemporary historical sources (like Josephus), and others of which were clearly just added because they thought it would make for a better story — like the Angel ninjas in Sodom who slay a slew of bad guys as they escort Lot and his family from the City amidst the chaos, despite any Biblical account of such a thing. My wife also commented at one point that she hadn’t realized that King David had six pack abs, but I pointed out that there was nowhere in the Bible that said otherwise, and that a lean diet and being a capable warrior probably lead to pretty good physical fitness.

All in all, it told many (though clearly not all) of the most important stories in a fairly faithful way, with production values that keep it entertaining for a broad range of people that might not otherwise sit through a Sunday School class to hear the stories in a truer form.

This program is an adaptation of Bible stories. It endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the book.

ASSESSMENT

Rating

4 out of 5 stars.

Suggested Audience

It is violent and bloody at times, but so also is the Bible. It is certainly appropriate for any kids who otherwise get to watch violent television shows or movies, as it isn’t any scarier or bloodier than a lot of what is on “free cable” today, but if that is a concern for you, you may want to skip it.

Christian Impact

This movie was done with sufficiently good production values to attract a very broad audience, and depicted Christ as the type of man/Lord that a Christian would want to see. It can be seen as a refresher course on many of the classic Bible stories, an introduction to someone who doesn’t know much about the Bible, or can even be used as a small group study, with materials found here.


Jeff Greene is a former Sunday school teacher, a supporter of the Rose Drive Friends Church library ministry, and husband of ECLA Board member Colleen Greene.


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2 Responses to “(DVD Review) “The Bible” Miniseries by the History Channel”

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