Friday, March 15, 2013

Charles Shaughnessy "Is The Bible A History Lesson?"

Some say the History channel crossed the line with the docudrama "The Bible"  This is my feedback about that, that happened to be published in the Los Angeles Times, Sunday 10 March.  

What do you think?


Additional comment by Charlie here:  Charles Shaughnessy17 March, 2013 21:08

51 comments:

  1. Charlie, you have the right to feel as you do. But they are relating in this series of the Bible as it being the word of God. I believe the Bible. I believe we are living in the end times. I find no fault in this being show'n on t.v. I am not watching it however, but that doesn't mean others shouldn't. We shouldn't judge anyone really of what their beliefs are like. I would love for you and Susan to one day come with me to the church I go to. You may like to see or hear something you might be opened minded and find meaning full about what you hear. I appreciate that you are opened about your feelings towards this program. You at least are being truthful in your belief.

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  2. This will likely go on until the end of time - people trying to persuade everyone that they are "right". Only few achieve perfect love, which means giving up ego, pride, etc., allowing others their own path and form. Most will continue trying to push and mold others into their ideal.

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  3. Thank you Charles. To everything there is a time and a place. The History Channel is not the place for religious programming. I went to public school. Two thirds of the families in our town were from a particular church. Because of that, their church set school policy. School was not the place where I should have been a captive audience to be told that I was 'going to hell' because I went to the wrong church. School should be school, unless it is your choice to go to a religious school. History should be from sources as well documented and factual as possible. Religion and religious instruction has its place too, but let's get some nomenclature and designations in place. In an aside, just today I bought a homemade religious-themed keychain from an older fellow in a motorized wheelchair in a grocery store parking lot. I do not like to be approached by strangers in parking lots, but I think he meant well. From the tea-party style bumper stickers all over his chair, I believe that he would not approve of my beliefs at all. I thought his keychains were ugly and poorly made. Still, I bought one. Maybe because he reminded me of some relative who had a good heart.

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  4. Charlie,
    As a history professor (sorry, have to throw in the academic credentials here), I joke with my classes that the History Channel is the cable channel that used to show history programming, but now is the place to find Swamp People, Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Shark Wranglers, etc.--shows that definitely are not "history" in my mind. However, I have pre-ordered “The Bible” series…more out of curiosity, since I do have a background in religious history and took a course on the history of the Biblical world as an undergraduate. I do intend to watch it after it arrives, but I don’t have high expectations for its historical accuracy. After all, I associate Mark Burnett with “Survivor,” and it’s almost like I’d watch to see who gets voted out of the Bible each week (“Cain, the tribe has spoken,” and his torch is put out).

    Incidentally, A&E, History Channel, and Biography are all part of the same company (along with Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network). They haven’t had what I would consider to be “legitimate” history programming in years…and even when the History Channel attempts “real” history it’s not very high quality (the one on the American Revolution a few years ago was particularly horrid; I almost expected the British to win the war). I can understand your concern, though, because the supposition is that "it's on the History Channel, so it must be accurate, and they're now venturing into religious programming." But it's an interpretation, just like "King of Kings," "Ten Commandments," etc. And, unfortunately, some people will believe it as the gospel truth (no pun intended).

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  5. I totally respect your honesty on the subject. From my perspective, the Bible holds historical significance weather you believe it to be a holy book or not. Our great nation was founded on the very principles contained within that book. So in that way, perhaps it does belong as a part of history.
    I agree with you that faith is a personal thing. And while I will share my beliefs if asked, I try my best not to force my opinions or beliefs on others. (Note I haven't actually stated my stance on the Bible itself.). I wasn't that impressed with the series, myself. They are only presenting parts of a whole, and to call it factual my opinion is you need all of the parts, not just the glamous ones. But that is true of any "story" wouldn't you say?

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  6. ITA with Charles. While some people will blindly accept a book written by men as the word of God without any challenge or question to its validity and accuracy, I find it highly questionable that any interpretation for entertainment purposes be shown on a channel designating itself as a HISTORY channel. But then again, MTV and VH1 rarely play music videos, A&E stands for Arts & Entertainment which originally aired operas and Shakespeare (and was the cause of my passion for singing arias), TLC and Discovery channels were all about actually LEARNING information of the scientific realm. Now all of these channels pander to ‘reality tv shows’ for ratings (= $$$) and the History channel has fallen from showing documentaries a long time ago. While the bible – regardless which one (if any) you ascribe to – doesn’t always get it right in every aspect of modern life, the Christian bible definitely states it accurately in one line: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” – 1Timothy 6:10
    Shabbat Shalom

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  7. Very proud of you for writing that article. Happen to very much agree with your article. Just so happen to walk in the room during the program while my husband was checking it out. Unfortunately it had to be the part where Abraham went to offer his son (Issac) up a a sacrifice. I was cringing while watching this so called "historic" event. Although i have heard this story many times in Sunday School (and it was bad enough picturing it in my head) without the aid of visualization from the tv. If i am in the mood to watch any murder and/or bloodshed i could just go rent a war movie or horror flick. Just saying...

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  8. The Bible,as a show or as a group of stories is great. People can watch it and believe every word, if they so choose, or think it is a bunch of nonsense! The very fact that it has been shown on The History Channel, gives the impression that it is historical fact. Many people, who don't normally watch the channel, and don't know they have all sorts of odd shows on it, could well think it must be historical fact just because it has been shown on the "History" channel. It's on the History Channel, it must be true! I agree with you, Charlie. I think it should have aired somewhere else!

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  9. Karen may die of shock to see I agree with her, but as she and the anonymous poster above me both indicated, this really is an issue with the way cable channels that once had dedicated purposes have lost those identities as they chase after advertiser dollars. I find it hard to take issue with The Bible on the History Channel because I doubt anyone considers a channel that airs Monster Quest, Pawn Stars, Big Red Bounty Hunters, and Swamp People to be a barometer of historical accuracy -- and those are programs that are just airing in the next 24 hours. So I doubt anyone watching the program who isn't already convinced the Bible is historically accurate is going to be convinced it is historical truth because it is airing on the "The History Channel."

    Having said that, I do think there is value in reading the Bible as a historical and literary document. So much of western literature and art relies on biblical themes that it is hard to imagine someone unfamiliar with the the Bible fully understanding them. Can someone really understand the works of Chaucer, Milton, Joyce, or Melville if they don't understand their biblical allusions? Michelangelo's Pieta is an amazing sculpture, but it doesn't have the same meaning if you don't know it is a depiction of Mary and Jesus. And what about DaVinci's Last Supper? It just becomes a beautiful painting of a bunch of men appearing to argue around a table.

    There also is the historical impact. Doesn't knowing what is in the Bible help with an understanding of the expansion of Christianity, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Reformation and Age of Enlightenment -- as well as inform an understanding of so many current political issues in America. It is not necessary to believe what is in the Bible to read it as a historical document and see how it informs the world we live in today. So in that sense, playing out scenes from the Bible as "history" without proselytizing is, in some way, portraying history. It would be the way a history program might depict ancient Egyptian mythology or Old West tall tales. Those are part of history even if the stories they tell are not themselves factual.

    As a final note, to the anonymous poster mourning the loss of the true A&E channel, I'm right beside you (and also mourning the original Bravo). Those channels helped fuel my lifelong love of theater and opera. Decades later, I can still vividly recall Derek Jacobi as Cyrano in a recorded RSC production, Ben Vereen from the original Broadway production of Pippin, and Judi Dench singing Send in the Clowns as part of a rehearsal for A Little Night Music at The National Theatre, which aired in an episode of The South Bank Show. Today, those channels are airing Duck Dynasty, Storage Wars, and The Real Housewives of god knows what city they are on. It really is a tremendous loss to the public.

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  10. I'm so glad to see you back on your blog, Charlie!! I've missed this! And Shabbat Shalom to "anonymous"...who said so much of what I would have said. When a network that labels itself as "Learning", shows Honey BooBoo, we have to question our own sanity. But I can see your point, Charlie...I feel the same way when a "science" program/magazine has content that proclaims to "know the truth" about how the earth was formed or how man came to be. And yet, right in your letter, you are concerned that "science" will be taken less seriously because of the parable that is the Bible? It's the same thing, you are taken some 'scientific' research as fact, while others(me) take the Bible as fact. For a great number of people in the world, the Bible *IS* history(or His Story *wink*). So perhaps it could have been on a different channel, but it's also very popular and is getting great ratings. The other networks are probably in meetings as we speak, trying to figure out a way to get a piece of the pie. And if that means less Kardashian air time..all power to them.

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  11. Who's to say who is right and who is wrong, when it comes to religious beliefs? I see nothing wrong with the History Channel showing the Bible. Is it not a book steeped in history? Although not a complete history but a history nonetheless. The History Channel has other shows on that have nothing to do with history.

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  12. @jwsel—See, we can agree. I keep hoping that someday I’ll turn on Bravo and see James Lipton and Inside the Actors Studio instead of Real Housewives (who, trust me, don’t look like any housewife I’ve ever met).

    Okay, I still haven’t watched the series, but I have read the comments here on the blog, Facebook, and Pheed and have read a couple of articles about the program. There seems to be a bit of disconnect—whether the Bible is a book of faith, a book of history, or both. In my mind, it is both. Some parts are difficult to rationalize, which is where faith kicks in (such as where did Cain’s wife come from?). Others—yes, there is historical evidence to support the events mentioned in the Bible. Pharaoh Ramses II did enslave the Israelites. Herod did order the execution of all boys in Bethlehem under the age of two after Jesus’s birth. The Roman Empire did conduct censuses and required people to return to the city of their birth instead of being counted where they lived at the time. As such, the Bible is a book of history, one that is a record of events passed on orally for generations until they were finally recorded, then later printed by Gutenberg (there is a reason why the Bible was the first book ever published with movable type and still is the best-selling book ever printed).

    The series purports itself to be a docudrama, which means that it’s part documentary, part drama. It’s an interpretation of the Bible, not a literal portrayal. My concern isn’t whether the History Channel should be showing programming like this; my thought is why it’s on the History Channel and not another network. It seems like the type of programming that would be a perfect fit for GMC, for instance, if it’s a religious series and not an historical one (after all, that's where reruns of "Touched by an Angel" that stars Roma Downey are broadcast). But if it portrays the Bible as history (and not solely as a book of faith), it’s probably on the right network, even if that network has strayed from serious historical programming over the years (after all, it is followed by a series called “Vikings” that seems more like a live-action Hagar the Horrible adventure than a serious study of Norse life).

    Finally, two questions for Charlie: (1) Would you have the same reaction if the History Channel was broadcasting a series on the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, or Lao Tze? Or is it just the Bible that is causing you to question their programming? (2) Have you actually watched any of the series, or is your letter a kneejerk reaction to the existence of the program without having actually seen it?

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  13. I agree with you, Mr. Shaugnessy. The Bible is history, but it is religious history. There probably is a more suitable channel it could have been on - maybe even one of the three major networks. But The History Channel, you are correct, is not one of them.

    I just found your blog...thank you for blogging. I will now be a regular follower.

    Smiles,
    Julie

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  14. I think I should just go back to reading the blog and not commenting. Everyone here is a lot more knowledgeable and articulate than me.
    I am curious to read Charlie's answers to Karen's questions.

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    1. oh Tracy!!! Please don't do that! Everyone's thoughts are important and have value, and we all have "areas of expertise". Please keep replying and joining in!

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    2. I agree with JoAnn, I like your comments Tracy. I've learned a bit from everyone here and liked seeing their points of view. I don't have cable or sat. and haven't seen the show, so I'm merely a bystander this time. But I hope you keep posting if you have something to input.

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    3. Than you MissJoAnn and Nan for your support :)

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  15. I feel The History Channel was an appropriate channel to show it on as the Bible is very historical. It definitely has a lot of fact to it as even science, time after time, is proving the Bible to be very accurate and true. I tend to agree with most others on this blog that THC does not play very many shows true to real history anymore but when they do, they still don’t always portray it to perfection. What does it matter whether it is religious history, political history, or social history. It is still HISTORY! And that is why I feel it is completely appropriate to air it on a TV channel such as the HC.

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  16. Had "The Bible" on THC focused on the actual history of the Bible: who wrote it, when were the different books written, where did some of the universal stories ( like the Flood, Cain and Abel, Virgin Birth etc.) originate, I would not have had a problem. My issue with what was produced is that it presented the "narrative" of the Bible, ( the earth created in six days, God speaking to various people, the seven plagues etc.) as actual History. As I have explained, matters of faith cannot, by definition, be historical. For many, there is no God to do any talking to anyone, we tend to accept the science of carbon dating over creation myths and any "miracle" has a natural source. Of course many people disagree, but that's my whole point. If something is "historical" it means it actually happened: Lincoln was shot, the Colonies did leave the Empire, Custer died at Little Big Horn. There is no room for "belief" or faith. If I had added that Lincoln was a good president or that the War of Independence was about "liberty," you could justly argue that we were no longer discussing history, but my own opinions or beliefs. So it is with the Bible. Some of the events it describes are historical: the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, there was a battle at Jericho, there almost certainly was a catastrophic flood at some point in pre-history, but the judaeo/christian context as a religious text is simply a matter of opinion, belief and faith.

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    1. Charlie, we've had this conversation so many times over the years, we could probably write each other's replies at this point LOL. As Val said, the more science finds, the more it cements our faith! But there is also a level of "faith in the unseen" in science that is identical to my faith! A gazillion dollars was spent to make a machine that could 'sort of, maybe' find the Higgs boson, and really all they are seeing is the 'side effects' of the particle, and extrapolating that the particle must exist even if they can't see it, because of all the things it can do!!! Yet, I'm certifiable because I believe in a God that I can't see but can clearly see His presence all around me? Sounds like the same thing to me. Only I'm not setting out to disprove science, while science seems to be on a very expensive quest to disprove the existence of God. You and others believe in carbon dating(and I don't disbelieve it)...until the next sophisticated machine comes along to tweak the data. And I've never understood how the whole "primordial ooze ending up as a Homo Sapien" has become such 'fact' with such minimal proof and a HUGE missing link!! At the end of the day...science can go ahead and try to discount/disprove the existence of God. Even if they could find the 'original cell', it still wouldn't tell them its source, and would just make me say "You go, God!".

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    2. Charlie, I'm curious do you have problems with other shows on THC that have nothing to do with history (e.g. Pawn Stars, Ax Men, Swamp People) or is it just The Bible series? Many may say there is no God to talk to, but those same people end up talking to Him in their time of distress. Including yourself! Sorry but to quote you "God," I whisper to myself, "I know you know I don't believe in you, but if you let me get through this, I promise to give you serious consideration." I take that as to mean somewhere deep inside you do have some belief.

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  17. Two points: Americans will flock to anything related to Jesus, the Bible, and the Christian religion in a completely non-critical fashion. Secondly the culturally installed "blinders" prevent them from even seeing the vast sections of the Bible that, if depicted in any realistic way, would make it unfit to be viewed by a general audience.

    Will Lot offering up his daughters for gang rape and then sleeping with BOTH of them on successive nights be portrayed? The mauling of children by a bear simply because they mocked a bald man? Jesus killing a fig tree because it didn't bear fruit out of season? The gruesome display of his "exorcising" a host of demons and allowing/directing them into a brood of baby pigs who then drown themselves? Of course not.

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  18. Have you seen the line-up on History lately? Very few of the shows have little to do with history. Pawn Stars? Ax Men? American Pickers? Ice road truckers? I love history and would actually like to see more of it on the History channel. Although not completely accurate, The Bible series does have historical value.

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  19. The "History" Channel's programming includes a lot of things that may or may not be history, historically accurate or even true. Starting at the same time as "The Bible" was "The Vikings" done in the same dramatic fashion. No argument with that? The thing is The History Channel is a broadcasting entity that has the right to air anything it chooses and the viewers get to decide if they want to watch it or not or how they choose to use it in their own lives. That's the beauty of freedom.

    And while I respect your right to believe and feel any way that you want, I think it's important to truly feel conviction with your beliefs. There is universal truth in many religions but unless you are a universalist there is exclusivity in all religions. Muslim beliefs contradict Jewish beliefs. Christian beliefs while rooted in Judaism contradicts Jewish beliefs when it comes to the Messiah. Buddism contradicts all of the above. Hinduism, Wiccan, Atheism...the list could go on. Each of these religions have distinct world views with very distinct beliefs on things such as creation (and even have differing views within the religions) and other things.

    So if one is to be a person of faith, they should weigh their knowledge, study and understanding and if they make a personal choice on faith have the courage to say THIS is what I believe. Having the courage of conviction, WITHOUT hatred toward those that have differing views, is not offensive, should not be offensive. Presenting these views in a televised drama is not offensive and should not be offensive either. Issues of faith are presented overtly or subliminally in a vast amount of programming. The Bible is overtly stating what it will be presenting instead of burying it within the context of a "secular" drama. Watch programming closely. You'd be surprised how much you see presented as fact that is really a matter of faith.

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  20. Charlie, I'm living on a world and in a Creation that is SO complex that even man is still finding out all of its complexities. I am living in a human body that is even more complex that even the extremely intelligent surgeons I work with can be stumped at times. I'm sorry that you believe that all of this just came about in a huge collision or some other way. But as for me, I believe Someone had to actually intricately design all of this. Thus, I believe the Bible which is my faith, your right. But had they shown Evolution or the Big Bang theory on THC, I believe you would have been fine with that because YOU believe in that and that is your faith. Whatever the channel shows, someone somewhere believes in it by having faith that it's true. It just depends on. WHAT you believe in, Charlie.

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    1. Don't see how science is "set out to disprove the existence of God"! Science is about asking questions, solving problems, learning how things are made, why and how stuff works, and makes them tic. etc. One of the neatest things about mankind is: we are curious and want answers to the largest questions of all: "why?" As an agnostic: our theory is - there is not enough evidence to prove or disprove the theory of God. It does not matter to me if science in the end helps to prove or disprove a "God". The deal is this: is a quest for knowledge and answers. Which is basically what happens while we are alive. We live and we learn. And yes Science can help to prove religion right, which there again is opinion. I for (same as most humans i would think) hope there is something after this life. If heaven or whatever so be it. The God of the bible just seems scary to me, a vengeful wrathful God. And i don't believe one book or one scientist has all the answers and we should just stop going forward or searching for answers. Life is always going to be a quest for answers and who knows how long or how far we are from figuring the mystery of life in the universe?

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    2. Although: With the (awesome) and recent discovery of the Higgs Boson particle or quite possibly:(particles) we are closer to understanding more than ever!

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  22. I also have no problem accepting the historical "factual" events/dates of the biblical period as Charlie pointed out. And: Jwsel did have a very valid point that knowledge of the bible is valuable and helpful in understanding political ideas and history of religion and origins. But: expecting "everyone" to accept the many miracles and/or magical appearances of animals, burning bushes, and angels etc as factual "history" is expecting/asking "everyone" to take a leap of faith. Which to many people (like me) seems taking a step toward abandoning logic and/or reason in these cases (walking on water etc). Which seem to me; basically the same as asking if someone believes in aliens, ghosts, or demons etc. Merely matter of opinions and/or experiences.

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  23. I think the original question was whether or not The Bible should be on the History channel. I realize that a lot of programming on that channel is not history, but by the very fact that it is the History channel, and therefore by definition, deals with 'history'.
    People can believe in the Bible word for word, the essence of the Bible, or none of it. That is their choice and they have a right to have that choice. The fact remains that the Bible is not 'historical fact'. Some of it is but a lot is not, so it would have been wiser to show it on a channel where it cannot be thought of as historical fact.

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    1. Sharon, I totally understand what you're saying. BUT, "the fact remains that the Bible is not historical fact"??? How do you(or anyone, not picking on you) know that? For Valerie and me, it IS historical fact, for you and Charlie it is not. And that's ok...we all have the freedom to have those beliefs. There is no beheading for saying that the Bible is a myth, we are very blessed in that regard. I can't "prove" with empirical data that a burning bush spoke audibly to Moses....but you can't prove it didn't!!! It may sound like some mythical fantasy to you, to me it's just "what God did in that situation"
      And that's why I think it probably shouldn't be on the "History" channel, because it spawns discussions like this, that have nothing to do with the series itself. And I don't think it should be on PBS either, since they get tax dollars.

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    2. Bible might not be historical fact, but science can prove some of it. Burning bush could be something as simple as a lightning strike. Moses talking to burning bush not as easy to explain.

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  24. Charles,

    I agree that it would have been better if narratives were shown with commentary from scholars who could address what is "fact," what is myth, and why those particular stories became part of the Bible. But that doesn't mean that well-done narratives on their own can’t help understand what we would consider history. They could be a tool in teaching the content of Judeo-Christian doctrine and how that affected the development of the modern world. Even a narrative of a popular myth has historical value and a teacher or parent with sufficient knowledge or proper resources could provide appropriate context and criticism for the narratives so that an uncritical viewer like a child would not be misled.

    That is where I think the History Channel and the producers of The Bible deserve significant criticism. There is nothing they provide in terms of supplemental material that provides a secular -- or even non-Christian -- viewpoint on the series. The History Channel website has no supplemental materials at all, and it links to a producer-run site that provides Christian-based tie-in materials. There is no attempt to hide the goal of promoting a particular religious viewpoint.

    Moreover, as I have looked at the website, video clips, and articles about the program, I have grown increasingly uneasy about the way the program depicts the biblical tales. It does not provide anything resembling a balanced narrative of the Bible. It chooses selectively from the Old and New Testament and adds its own embellishments. (Armored angels wield swords like ninjas and slice up the inhabitants of Sodom to carve a path for Lot and his family's escape in one such touch -- as if raining fire on the city was not violent enough for viewers.) And what it shows from the Old Testament segments appears to emphasize its most violent and craven events and omits key elements that would be critical to any understanding of Judaism. There appears to be no mention of Jacob or Joseph at all, as the narratives skip from the sacrifice of Isaac (after we have seen Abraham banish Hagar and Ismael) to Moses' birth. The worst parts of Saul and David are emphasized, but Solomon is skipped. Virtually all of the prophets are omitted.

    Then there is the depiction of Old Testament women. From what I can tell, the only ones who are shown to any degree are: Eve; Sarah (mainly to badger Abraham and be jealous of Hagar); Hagar; Lot's wife; Rahab the prostitute; Delilah; and Bathsheba. Of those, the only women who come across in a positive light are Hagar, who is far more important in Islam than in Judaism, and Rahab, who in Christian tradition is Jesus' ancestor. The program doesn't depict three of the four Jewish Matriarchs at all -- Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah -- or later female characters like Miriam, Deborah, Esther and Ruth.

    What a viewer is left with from the selective narratives is a bastardized picture of the portions of the Bible relevant to the "Judeo" part of Judeo-Christianity. Instead, the Old Testament characters are pretty much uncivilized barbarians and female shrews. And, hey, it's not like they had time to include any of the strong women from the Old Testament; the producers had to find time for that cool sword fight between Moses and Pharaoh (and, no, I'm not making that up). There also is the racial issue – all the major players are white, except for Samson, who is dark-skinned with dreadlocks, and Satan, whose resemblance to Barak Obama was even the subject of tweets by Glenn Beck.

    So my biggest criticism is not that a show called The Bible is airing on The History Channel; it's that a portrayal of the Bible as a religious-right fantasy is airing on The History Channel.

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    1. Thank you for that analogy and for the heads up Jwsel! Also for watching it. I totally get where you are coming from and agree based on your interpretation. Sounds biased to me. What??? A dark skinned Satan that resembles Obama. Then, Tweets about it by Glenn Beck. The Religious right is possibly behind the writing and/or (at the least) the casting of it. Okay now i have gone from tolerant to mad!!

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    2. The producers of The Bible are Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, and I can't comment on their personal religious views. However, the website lists advisors like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen, who are evangelical conservatives. Articles indicate that the producers also reportedly consulted with the head of Focus on the Family. I have seen lists of consultants for the program that indicate there were at least 18 evangelical Protestant consultants. By comparison, the consultant list only has three or four academics, two Catholics, and a single Jew. The Jewish consulstant is a rabbi and professor, whose focus of study is on how Christianity developed from Judaism and Judaism during early Christian times. He would not be an expert in the Old Testament, which suggests the producers never sought opinions from Jewish scholars who were experts on the Old Testament or they did seek opinions and the scholars refused to take part.

      I know from rabbis who are family members and friends that have consulted on films that producers would typically seek out approval from much more well-known leaders. For instance, when Dreamworks made Prince of Egypt, it consulted nearly 300 scholars, ranging from evangelicals Jerry Falwell and James Dobson to the Archbishop of Los Angeles to the Dean of Hebrew Union College (the Reform Judaism seminary) and the Vice-Preasident of the Rabbinic Council of America (the organization of Orthodox Jewish rabbis). They also consulted well-known Muslim-American leaders and feminist biblical scholars.

      I'm not saying the producers of The Bible had to go to such extremes, but the absence of more Jewish and Catholic consultants (and no Muslim consultants at all) suggests that the producers had no real interest in presenting a balanced view of the Bible. Intended, they intended to make the Bible for a particular audience and seek to promote a specific religious viewpoint.

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    3. jwsel--Thank you for your explanation. The series has been endorsed by preachers/televangelists like Joel Osteen and by Christian gospel singers like Bill Gaither. No big shock then that the religious right probably influenced the production (especially since strong women were overlooked).

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  25. I agree with your concern. I don't think this show belongs on the History Channel (or Biography or A&E). Maybe PBS would have worked better, although the pledge drives during the show would have seemed too much like passing the collection plate in church.

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  26. I agree with you Charlie, but for different reasons than stated above. The program shouldn't be on the History Channel or any other basic cable channel. Instead, it should have been on network TV. I'm sure NBC would have loved 10.9 million viewers for any of its programs. And that way people like Nan could also watch it.

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  27. Wow.. I was surprised to see my name.. (thanks Gertrude ). But, I'm always surprised when I'm noticed.. so that's nothing new.. LOL.. I've been thinking, as I read some of these comments, is there any input I could say, having not viewed the show.

    jwsels has mentioned some things that I was unaware of, and now I'm unsure how interested I am in seeing this show.. She seems to have done some homework, where I haven't. Also, many of you have already seen this and can voice your own opinion.

    First I would like to say.. The Bible is a book that I believe in, and has a very personal meaning to me. (as it does to many people). But when it is portrayed in the Hollywood manner, it really doesn't do it justice.
    Although, I think that it would be difficult to make a historical documentary about a religious book and leave out the religion and beliefs.. Since this discussion started, I've wondered about the Koran and Torah, and their histories, but I don't know much about them. Would I get the wrong impression if they were portrayed poorly? How would I know the difference?..

    Mr. S. I'm glad you responded, now I understand more of what you are meaning to say, and your point of view on the subject. I've liked reading everyone's point of view whether or not I agreed. As far as the History Channel goes.. it sounds like it has strayed from it's role as sticking to what is deemed history and gone more to drama than documentary. Even though I believe those things happened, it sounds like a lot of the history is being left out.. Time to go do some of my own research on this show if I'm going to have any input here. Thanx, Nan

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  29. Congratulations Roxy! I'm so glad your search has been so successful and that people are supporting you. Family reunions can be fun. Too bad you won't be able to join the one in Pennsylvania.

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  30. Charlie I appreciate your point of view now here is mine. I truly believe the Bible IS the inspired word of God and it is factual history and I accept this by faith and trust. I believe every word to be inspired and enjoy reading it. What is becoming even more exciting is all of the scientific facts now backing up what is written. If I am wrong and I do not think I am what have I lost? As the Bible is based on historical facts what better channel than The History Channel. Everyone has a right to believe as they do but I am most comfortable in believing and trusting Christ came into the world by virgin birth, he died on a cross for our sins and he arose three days later to prove he is the Son of God. HAPPY EASTER.

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    1. Thank you Mar! I fully agree with you. Happy Easter to you and everyone else who is reading and contributing to the blog.

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  31. Now that I have finally watched it...

    1) Once again, Hollywood has bastardized history.

    2) The portrayal of many of the stories is a lot different from those I read in the Bible while growing up. If this program was what the Bible really stated (and not what I was taught), no wonder a lot of people are turning away from organized religion.

    3) The History Channel definitely was the best place to broadcast this program (sorry, Charlie). It belongs on the same network as Ax Men, Ice Road Truckers, etc. It was that bad.

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  32. Unbelievable. Mr. Shaughnessy, if you don't like something on television, change the channel. Isn't that what liberals like yourself tell anyone when they want to censore certain material/shows that they personally have a problem with? And to go through the trouble to put it in a newspaper article only shows your intolerace.

    Bottom line, God, Jesus and religion have been around a long time (and will remain so) whether you believe they are fact or fiction. Unless you own the station, let people choose for themselves what to watch and on what station. That way, they can decide for themselves. In other words, get over it.

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