• 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.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    National Geographic's Documentary Series on the Plagues and Jesus

    I cam across news of this one thanks to an article in the Daily Telegraph called "Biblical Plagues Really Happened". It turns outs this new "evidence" was based on a National Geographic's Documentary Series on the Biblical Plagues which is airing this Easter. Ican't quite work out from National Geographic's web site how many episodes there are to this series, or how many of them have aired already. There are three Blog posts entitled Biblical Plagues Part 1: Tales of Terror, Biblical Plagues Part 2: The River of Blood and Biblical Plagues Part 3: Science Behind the Plagues, all of which end by saying "Don't miss Biblical Plagues: The First Curses and The Final Torments, this Monday starting at 9P et/pt!" but when you click on them they suggest the programmes run one after another on Sunday starting at 11A(M?).

    It appears though that there's very little new in this documentary. I first came across the idea of the plagues being some sort of chain reaction over ten years ago. There might be some new information in this (perhaps that they were triggered by a sudden prolonged dry spell) but the core of the theory (including the possibility that a volcano was responsible, go a long way back.

    Personally, while I used to be attracted to such theories, I find them a little too neat these days. It seems reasonable to me that a series of events may have lain behind the Exodus, but whther there were exactly ten plagues which occurred exactly as the final text of Exodus records seems a little unlikely / unimportant to me, particularly given the different sources behind the plagues seem to recall fewer in each instance (as far as I recall).There are also a number of other National Geographic documentaries showing through April from their "Mysteries of the Bible" series, including The Birth of Jesus, Jesus the Man, Jesus: the Healer and Jesus the Preacher which all air on Good Friday (2nd April), and one on Revelation that airs on Easter Monday (5th). Parts of these seem to be available to view online (even in the UK) though most of them seem to be repeats.

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    • At 8:42 pm, April 05, 2010, Blogger brotheroftheson said…

      I watched the 2 one hour episodes about ten plagues aired this weekend by National Geographic.

      Firstly, I was concerned that Moses was misrepresented. He was born into a Hebrew slave family but was adopted into the family of the royal court (when his mother floated him in the basket towards one of the servants of a princess of the royal court)
      He lived there for 40 years, was highly eductaed and very well connected before murdering a slave-driver.
      He escaped into the desert and lived there another 40 years tending sheep. Only then did he experience the burning bush episode and only then, after great reluctance, did he head back to Egypt.

      In the NG version, Moses looks about 30. He is only represented as a son of a Hebrew slave who wandered into the desert, met up with a burning bush and came back. There is no mention of his real past , the royal connection, his ability to get to into the actual presence of a Pharaoh, let alone speak to him.
      The narrative is littered with words such as myth, legend, story, lack of evidence, it being recorded 600 years later in Jerusalem, the actual events were lost and embellished as the story was passed down from generation to generation, diverse writing styles crossing paths, killing first born saying young children (BTW, I'm a first born and I am 45 years old) - in those days the first born would inherit everything so they were highly valued and treated extremely well so their deaths would have caused massive problems for the people. There are more issues but my time is short.

      What stood out to me was, NG's goal was not to present each case honestly and to offer us the opportunity to decide which version is true, but rather to depict the Bible account in the light of a "story" that cannot be trusted or believed...only that it "could" have happened but it was only a story that was made up on the back of a possible "natural disaster" to have struck this particular city.

      The issue I have here is that the public watch NG programs on the premise that the truth has been investigated and is being reported as supposedly accurate.

      A lot of the public will not open the Bible to read it up themselves when the NG version is represented in stunning CGI (a much easier option on the eye than actually reading the Biblical account) and so they believe what they see and what they walk away with is the impression,that the Bible is false and the account is untrue, because NG implies it so.

      In the New testament, Paul talks of God talking about this Pharaoh and how He deliberately hardened the Pharaoh's heart so he would be even more stubborn.

      I was aware of the natural accounts many years ago and considered it to be possible and why not. Who says it all has to magically appear?

      I just wanted to make a point and I feel that the actual account was not even given a fair crack at the whip.

    • At 10:29 am, April 08, 2010, Blogger Matt Page said…

      Thanks for your detailed comments. Unfortunately as I've not seen these programmes I can't really offer much by way of reply.



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