• 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


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    Monday, May 08, 2006

    A Few Thoughts on Abraham

    I watched the Bible Collection's Abraham (1994) last night and had planned to get some more formal comments up this morning. Sadly, a plumbing related disaster this morning has robbed me of the necessary time this morning, so I'll have to return to that another day. Meanwhile, I thought I'd just offer a few comments on the actual story of Abr(ah)am indirectly prompted by the film.

    Firstly, the most famous incident in Abraham's life is his aborted sacrifice of Isaac. In thinking about this film over the weekend I can't help wondering what Sarah's knowledge of the situation was. Did Abraham tell her before what he was planning? Did she give her consent? Did either Isaac or Abraham tell her afterwards. For some reason my mind wandered onto an image of Terry Jones playing Sarah hearing an account from Abraham of the events of the afternoon. "You were going to do what?!!? 60 years it took me...".*

    On a more serious note, the more I consider this story, the more it only makes sense within a context where child sacrifice is common. This is subtly hinted at in Genesis 19 where Lot is all too willing to metaphorically sacrifice his daughters in order to preserve the dignity of his angelic gifts. Sadly this was one area of weakness for this film, which I'll go into more later on. Personally, I find Girard's insights into this story fascinating as the moment that God breaks through the universally accepted practice of child sacrifice, and shows it is not the way to please him. This God is different. I don't know how wholly convincing I find the argument, but it certainly sheds fresh light on the story.

    *In a similar vein I also pictured God saying to Abraham, "Dude, I was like totally joking. Man, you'll believe anything".



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