• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Rabbi Paul: The Movie?

    After reporting last month that someone has bought a film script on the Nativity, another Bible film is now listed at DoneDeal as having just been sold. Rabbi Paul, based on writer Bruce Chilton's book of the same name, will look at the life of the great apostle. Here are the details:
    Title: Rabbi Paul
    Log line: The life story of Saul of Tarsus who, due to divine intervention, turns his life around and becomes the founder of Christianity and the Apostle Paul.
    Writer: Bruce Chilton (author)
    Agent: n/a
    Buyer: Mandalay and Prelude Pictures
    Price: n/a
    Genre: Bio-Drama
    Logged: 2/2/06
    More: Biography. Alan Riche, Peter Riche, Mandalay Integrated Media Entertainment's Christian Tureaud, and Prelude's Mark Koch, Daniel de Liege & David Salzberg will produce.
    There's more on Chilton's biography, including reviews etc. at Amazon.com which also has the useful 'look inside' option. There are also a couple of write-ups at the Review of Biblical Literature website. I've not read the book, but I note a few things from the reviews. Firstly, the book apparently prioritises Acts over the epistles, which is an unusual move in this day and age. Simpler and more familiar for the faithful perhaps (arguably making it a good choice for a movie script perhaps).

    Secondly, if I have read the review correctly. Chilton's pre-conversion Saul struggles with guilt. If the film adopts this then it will find itself in opposition to EP Sanders and those scholars from the 'new perspective' on Paul.

    On the positive side both reviewers praise his writing style, and that, at least, means that the movie may be similarly well written. I certainly hope so. There's so little intersection between bible films and scholarship that when one comes along it's a source of real hope. Certainly we could do with more films that stress the Jewishness of Paul, Jesus and the early church. (Again one wonders if part of the motivation for the producers to buy this, rather than any other of the available scripts on Paul, was linked to the various debates about The Passion of the Christ).

    For what it's worth, I posted some brief comments on other film portrayals of Paul only last month.

    Thanks to Jeffrey Overstreet for the tip off.

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