Some thoughts on the Reception History of #TheBible series

I watched last night as my twitter stream and facebook wall was laced with anti-The Bible series graffiti.  Much like monkeys who fling poo on passers-by, sometimes, the person who was hit deserved it. Often times, however, I had to grimace at the creation of so many hypocrites.

I watched as people complained about the accents. Americans, I mean. They complained that God had an accent and that most actors had one. All of the accents came from the British Isles. Frankly, I think God does have an Irish accent and maybe even a Scottish sense of humor, but that’s besides the point. I had to laugh at Americans complaining about the British accent. How many still read the King James? Or watch Dr. Who? Or love it when preachers in Southern drawl bring forth the Word.of.God. on Sunday mornings? Maybe if God spoke in the Delta dialect, that would have been less offensive?

Let’s note the nationality of many of the cast and crew. I couldn’t help but noticing the country which leads in “you’re in America, speak English” complained rather loudly about the British accents. And given the decrying of so many white people in the show, one would think that a little multiculturalism would be appreciated.

I noticed that people complained about the missing parts. And? Unless you are intending to make a movie of every aspect of Scripture (what canon?) you will miss parts. I would argue that since the overall goal of the series is to reach the New Testament in a hurry, slicing and dicing the Old Testament (pick a canon) is part of the goal rather than any intended “we didn’t like this” part. Although, seeing God go after Moses’s manhood for a second time would have been awesome.

And of course, one reporter in my twitter feed was concerned with the sponsors, including Wal-Mart. I looked at his newspaper today and guess what? Tons of sponsors through advertising fees. Some of these fees come from gentlemen clubs too. As I covered in a rather old article, even our bibles are printed by those whom we would deem not-biblical. I know it’s tough to think these things through, but every minute of tv you watch is sponsored by someone. Every step you make, every breath you take, they are sponsoring you. In my opinion, this has to be once of the oddest complaints.

This is a dramatization of a vision by the producers. It is not meant to be academic, or settling the debate between minimalists and maximalists. Would I have liked to see an academic account? Sure, dramatizing includes theology. This is what happens in the sermon, or devotionals, etc…

It would seem to me that too many judged the series not on the basis of its own merit, but on what they expected. Some expected an academic take, or a 21st post-modern take, or one that is “true to the story.” This last one is horrendously out of step with reality. There is nothing too terrible wrong, I guess about this, as this is part of the reception history; however, I found some the complaints more than laughable. How dare the cast look beautiful! Although I have to agree, that maybe we are done with white Jesuses (or is it Jesi?) Anyway, I would encourage you to read along with the dramatization of of the producers’ vision of the story.

After all, it is their vision. I would almost bet you that even your vision, if ever brought to air, would suffer the same ridicule. I mean, geesh, when they get to the Gospels, I’m going to have a fit, but I will try to allow that they are presenting their interpretation.

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5 Replies to “Some thoughts on the Reception History of #TheBible series”

  1. I did not see the show, so I cannot comment on its content. I may catch a rerun.

    I will note that television is a commercial operation. It runs on advertising. Corporate sponsorship is the only way to bring a program like this to commercial TV.

    I hate Wal-Mart. There, I said it. But they are probably the biggest retailer of Bibles in the world. Even I have bought a Bible there.

    Wal-Mart’s participation serves the interests of both the producers of the program and the sponsorship. Arguably it also benefits the viewer.

    What’s the beef?

  2. I see the infighting among Christians (the age old problem as to why the Love and Truth of Christ is seen by the world as …_____ fill in the blank with any word that would be derogatory …) as a sad, heart breaking thing. I just wrote about this subject this morning after seeing the mean spirited comments hidden by “judge the fruit”. Yes, we are told to do that but not cut other Believers down in the process. We are to lift each other up in His Love. The Truth is He uses all things for His purpose and if only 1 lost is found through a project, a song, a movie, etc then it is worth His effort. I have gotten a great response to my article this morning on my blog and on FB – because mainly … I think … people are tired of Believers cutting others down when they are going after God in the best way they know how at the moment they are at in their lives. Thankfully His grace is sufficient that He waits and teaches as we ALL misunderstand and dare I say when MOSTdon’t even go to the Word to find out what He has to say. He says… Love One Another.

  3. Enjoyable post, Joel. The carping from some on twitter, fb and elsewhere has been embarrassing. And some of the press too. I thought it was hilarious that the best that the Daily Mail could find to throw at it was that the actors are too good looking!

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