• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    New BBC Documentary Series - "The Miracles of Jesus"

    UPDATE: I've now reviewed this programme, and hope to post an interview with its producer Jean-Claude Bragard shortly.

    BBC1 is to show a three part series looking at the miracles of Jesus, set to start on the 30th July 2006. The series called "The Miracles of Jesus" is produced by Jean-Claude Bragard who also produced 2001's 3 part documentary about Jesus "Son of God" (also known as "Jesus: The Complete Story" in the US).

    As ever there's a good bit of info on the BBC website with a reasonably detailed overview of each programme which are split up as follows:
    Programme One
    In first-century Galilee, what did miracles mean?
    Programme Two
    Did Jesus really believe he was the son of God?
    Programme Three
    The most astonishing miracle of all.
    There's also a special feature - Jesus's miracles: the ancient and modern meanings. At over 2800 words it's quite extensive for a programme's website, and I imagine it covers most of what the programme will do. There are some interesting interpretations there - very strong on putting the miracles in a first century Jewish context, and noting the resonances with key events in Israelite history.

    Usually these documentaries have a number of interesting contributors. "Son of God" had a number including Mark Goodacre, and Tom Wright who was critical of the final programme. That said, on the basis of the information given on the website it looks like Wright may well be involved again this time. One comment in particular has Wright written all over it:
    The widow's son, Jairus' daughter and Lazarus were resuscitated or revived: they would eventually die again. Jesus on the other hand would live forever. His resurrection entailed a complete transformation in his body and spirit, a complete victory over death
    The series is showing at 6:35pm on BBC1 over three Sundays, starting on the 30th July.

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    10 Comments:

    • At 9:59 pm, July 05, 2006, Blogger Steven Carr said…

      The miracles of Jesus are literary creations, in much the same way that many of the stories in the Book of Mormon and the Koran are literary creations.

      See Miracles for details.

      When Moses returned from the grave at the Transfiguration, never died again and tnen returned to Heaven, was he resurrected or resuscitated? The Bishop of Durham never says which, mainly because it would expose his false dichotomy of 'resurrection' versus 'resuscitation' - a distinction unknown to early Christians who even took Jonah's rescue from the fish as a resurrection.

       
    • At 9:28 am, July 06, 2006, Blogger Peter T Chattaway said…

      When Moses returned from the grave at the Transfiguration, never died again and tnen returned to Heaven, was he resurrected or resuscitated?

      What reason do we have to believe that Moses returned in bodily form, and was not a spirit like the ghost of Samuel that spoke to Saul, etc.?

       
    • At 7:02 pm, July 06, 2006, Blogger Steven Carr said…

      So 1st century Jews had no objection to the idea of a dead prophet coming back from the dead, and appearing to people in spirit form?

      Moses 'appeared' (opththe) in the Transfiguration, which is exactly the same word Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 15 to describe how Jesus 'appeared' to various people. This is just before Paul says 'the last Adam became a life-giving spirit'.

       
    • At 5:00 pm, July 07, 2006, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for dropping by. The question for me really is this:"If the miracles were solely literary creations, what was it that was distinctive about this failed Messiah that made him be remembered when the others were all but forgotten?"

      His teaching was impressive, but hardly uniquely remarkable. Yet something drew people to him, and it wasn't the promise of a violent rebellion against the Romans.

      Furthermore, sources outside the bible note that he was known for performing miraculous acts, even if you get the impression their authors weren't quite convinced.

       
    • At 6:03 pm, July 07, 2006, Blogger Steven Carr said…

      'Something drew people to him'?

      Even the Bible concedes that Christianity was only able to grow once people could not see the Messiah for themselves.

      And the miracles remain in the same genre of story-telling as many stories in the Koran and the Book of Mormon, using many of the same techniques.

      No non-Christian reports Jesus doing miracles in the 1st century AD, apart from a passage in Josephus which is undoubtedly corrupted.

      In fact even Paul does not record Jesus doing miracles. Many churches (eg in Thessalonica and Corinth) thought the dead were lost, and scoffed at the idea of a dead body rising.

       
    • At 7:14 am, July 08, 2006, Blogger Peter T Chattaway said…

      So 1st century Jews had no objection to the idea of a dead prophet coming back from the dead, and appearing to people in spirit form?

      Quite possibly not. I mean, when Jesus appeared to his followers, their reaction was not, "We are hallucinating" -- their reaction was, "He's a ghost." The apparition of a person's disembodied spirit was at least a possibility to their minds. But this is precisely why the gospels tell us that Jesus made a point of demonstrating his corporeality.

      In fact even Paul does not record Jesus doing miracles.

      Well why would he need to, when he openly talks about the miracles that he himself performed in the presence of his readers (e.g. II Corinthians 12:11-12)? Presumably Paul's readers figured Jesus was at least as capable of miraculous feats as Paul was.

       
    • At 10:50 am, July 08, 2006, Blogger Steven Carr said…

      Matthew 28:17 bsays 'some doubted'. even after the proofs that the Son of God gave.

      Clearly, this is spin , to get around the awkward fact that nobody had heard of disciples preaching physical bodily vists from Jesus.

      Churches in Thessalonica and Corinth thought the dead were lost and scoffed at the idea of a dead body rising. (Of course, they would have had no problem with the idea that Jesus, being God, went back to the spirit he was before he was human, leaving his body behind)

      So in the Gospels, Jesus declares he is not a 'pneuma' (spirit), while Paul declares that Jesus became a 'pneuma' (spirit)

      In the Gospels, Jesus eats food, while Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 6 that God will destroy both body and food.

      In the Gospels, Jesus says he has flesh and bones, while Paul declares that 'Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God', and 1 Peter 1 says 'All flesh is grass'.

      In the Gospels, the body which goes into the ground, is the body which comes out, replee with flesh, bones and wounds, while Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15, that you do not plant the body that will be.

      Has anybody ever heard of such unanimous testimony? Why, it makes me want to rush aout and convert this very mimnute.


      When Moses appeared at the Transfiguration, he was a ghost, was he? So when Paul insists on a bodily resurrectiom, he can mean a ghostly body? After all, ghosts have bodies don't they? How can a ghost tuck its head underneath ist arm, if they don't have bodies?


      Why does he need to be resurrected, when he was doing fine in Heaven as a ghost? What does he need his flesh and blood body back for, when he can visit the Earth?

      And, of course, the very idea of a dead person returning from the dead as a ghost and never dying again destroys the idea that the disciples could not have believed a ghost would return from the dead.

      Why would Paul need to talk about the miracles Jesus did? Perhaps because his heart was bursting with the miracles that Jesus did, and he was not able to make a 3 hour BBC series about the miracles of Jesus?

       
    • At 10:20 am, July 10, 2006, Blogger Peter T Chattaway said…

      Matthew 28:17 bsays 'some doubted'. even after the proofs that the Son of God gave.

      Yes, I have always found that a fascinating passage.

      Churches in Thessalonica and Corinth thought the dead were lost and scoffed at the idea of a dead body rising.

      Individuals did. It's not so clear that the churches, per se, did.

      Has anybody ever heard of such unanimous testimony? Why, it makes me want to rush aout and convert this very mimnute.

      Heh. Of course, part of the appeal of these testimonies is precisely the difficulty posed by trying to fit them all together so neatly and tidily. The Resurrection is not something we can easily possess with our minds -- nor should it be.

      When Moses appeared at the Transfiguration, he was a ghost, was he? So when Paul insists on a bodily resurrectiom, he can mean a ghostly body?

      I never said that Moses' appearance at the Transfiguration was a "resurrection". It was you who said that he "returned from the grave" when he appeared there, but in saying that, you make an assumption that I don't think is warranted. I point you back to the example of Samuel's ghost appearing in Endor -- would anyone have said that he "returned from the grave" there? that he was "resuscitated"? that he was "resurrected"? I think not.

      Why does he need to be resurrected, when he was doing fine in Heaven as a ghost?

      Was he doing fine? Was he in Heaven? Your evidence for this is...?

      And, of course, the very idea of a dead person returning from the dead as a ghost and never dying again destroys the idea that the disciples could not have believed a ghost would return from the dead.

      Sorry, whose idea do you think you're demolishing here? I already said that the disciples who witnessed the resurrected Jesus were open to the possibility that he was a ghost. The thing is, the whole point of a ghost appearing without its body is that the person represented by that ghost is dead. So you can't really say that the ghost has "returned from the dead" -- not unless it has returned with its body.

      Why would Paul need to talk about the miracles Jesus did?

      You don't know that he didn't. In your previous post, you merely said that Paul didn't "record" (i.e. write down) any of Jesus' miracles. Which basically amounts to complaining that the epistles were epistles and not gospels.

      Paul wrote his epistles as supplements to his oral teaching, and to address specific problems that arose when he was not present in those communities -- so his written references to the life and teachings of Christ are necessarily few and sparse. He apparently never set out to write down a biography of Christ, but I can't say that that bothers me, nor can I see why it would bother anyone else.

      And anyway, you are ignoring the larger point. You began this thread by saying that the biblical miracles are nothing more than "literary creations" -- yet lo and behold, Paul actually reminds his readers that he performed miracles in their very presence. So obviously those miracles aren't mere historical fiction. Paul might have faked miracles in the presence of his readers, or he might have performed genuine miracles in their presence, but you cannot say that all the biblical miracles were made up after-the-fact by the people who wrote the Bible.

       
    • At 11:31 pm, July 10, 2006, Blogger Steven Carr said…

      When Paul calls the Corinthians 'idiots' for doubting the resurrection of the dead, why did he not remind them that the very person they worshipped had spoken on the subject?

      and why did these Jesusn-worshippers convert to Christianity and scoff at the teachings of the person they worshipped that the dead would be resurrected?

      And what were Paul's miracles? Talking in tongues?

      And the fact remains thatr the miracle stories of Jesus were produced using the same literary techniques we find in the Book of Mormon or the Koran.

      Was Moses resurrected when he returned from the dead, never to die again?

      Well, Christians would sooneer cut off their arm than use the r-word to describe that.

      However, it was clearly a resurrection.

      And still many groups of people in Corinth and Thessalonica converted to Christianity while scoffing at the idea that the dead (other than Jesus) could return.

      In fact, 2nd century Christians were so worried that Paul didn't say the right things in 1 Corinthians that they forged a letter in his name, where Paul uses the very examples you claim nobody was bothered about him not using.

      What a joke the whole thing is!

       
    • At 7:42 pm, August 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Lol. Watching the series makes me laugh. None of the sayings and points are sourced right and the tone and message of the programme is designed to spread anti-god and anti-christ feelings and idealogies. Be careful of this new pattern thats growing amongst single faith occupied media organisations.

       

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