• 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


    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Living Bible - Episodes 11 & 12 (UK version)

    (This post is part of a continuing series on the UK release of The Living Bible -See all posts and citation method)
    Episode 11 -The Lord's Ascension
    Jesus meets two women - (Matt 28:8-10)
    Road to Emmaus - (Luke 24:13-33)
    Appearance to disciples - (John 20:19-23)
    Doubting Thomas - (John 20:24-29)
    Beach - (John 21:8-17)
    Great commission - (Matt 28:16-20)
    Ascension - (Acts 1:3-11)

    Episode 12 - The Lord is Risen
    Joseph asks for Jesus's body - (Mark 15:42-45)
    Burial - (John 19:38-42, Mark 15:46-47))
    Request to Seal the Tomb - (Matt 27:62-66)
    Resurrection - (Matt 28:2-4)
    Pharisees bribe the soldiers - (Matt 28:11-15)
    Women Outside the tomb - (Mark 16:1-4)
    Women Inside the tomb - (Mark 16:5-8)
    Magdalene tells Peter and John - (John 20:2)
    Peter and John at the tomb - (John 20:3-10)
    Magdalene sees angels - (John 20:11-13)
    Magdalene sees Jesus - (John 20:14-18)
    These final two episodes reveal similar faults to previous entries, namely that they are the wrong way around. Hence we have the Ascension before the Resurrection. However, taken together, and in the correct order, they do provide the most thorough treatment of the events following Jesus's death committed to film. Even other long treatments of Jesus's life such as Jesus of Nazareth and the Living Christ Series offer only a selection of the events recorded in the gospels. The only other film that really comes close is The Miracle Maker.

    One of the reasons that filmmakers generally pick and choose which events to include is that it is very hard to fit them all together. Indeed in a number of places there either seem to be contradictions or the only feasible harmonisation sounds completely implausible. For example, here we have Jesus and his followers making trips all over the place, in particular the trip to Galilee and back would take a considerable portion of the 40 days from Jesus's resurrection to his ascension.

    The script is fairly clever though in the way it depicts the women at the tomb arriving. It has to gloss over a couple of apparent inconsistencies (such as precisely which women were at the tomb and when), but by having Mary the mother of James, Salome and Mary Magdalene go to the tomb first (Mark), they are able to have Mary Magdalene go and tell Peter and John (John) whilst the others go inside (Matt). It does overlook that fact that Matthew has Magdalene not Salome go inside, and that Luke mentions that Joanna witnessed these events, but generally it holds up rather well.

    There is a great deal of attention paid to the seal that the Pharisees use to seal the tomb. Rather strangely they use a drip of wax and a press as if they were sealing a letter. I have no idea whether this is has any basis in fact, but it seemed rather odd in the way that it was displayed.

    Finally, the portrayals of the Romans and the priests is problematic here. When Joseph approached Pilate to ask for Jesus's body he is in credibly reasonable about it, and is concerned that he might offend Joseph if it appears he is questioning his honesty in seeking for verification of Jesus's death. By contrast the story of the priests bribing the soldiers paints them in a very poor light and they continue to hound Pilate.

    I'll be offering some reflections on this DVD set as a whole shortly.

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    • At 9:57 am, October 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      I've watched this episodes several
      times and also all of the series.
      In my edition of The Living Bible
      episodes 11 and 12 are signed as
      12 and 13 because I have episode
      plus - Upper room. Matt, why we
      can see here Christ appearing once
      to Mary Magdalene, and once to
      all the women?If you want, I can
      make you a scene guide for episode
      "Upper room".

    • At 9:19 am, November 09, 2007, Blogger Matt Page said…

      HI ANon,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I think the confusion comes down to the incompleteness of the UK release of these films.

      According to comments left by Witless D the original series consisted of 26, 15 minute episodes. The UK release selected just 12 of these. The US version I have is actually based on a 1981 reworking of these episodes into 12 half hour episodes. I'd have to see your version to know for sure, but I suspect that if you look at Witless' comment, you may be able to figure it out.

      If you do be sure to let us know!



    • At 7:36 am, December 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

      Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene
      at the end of episode "Lord is
      Risen". In the episode "Lord's
      Ascension" at the beginning of
      the episode Jesus appears to
      the two women. That's all.


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