• 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


    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Bible Films and The British Museum

    If things seems a little quiet around here as of late it's partly because I've been preparing for taking a group round the British Museum this Saturday. It's something I've wanted to do for quite a while but there's a good amount of research to be done, and lots of other bits of pieces to do to get life back on track after my holiday.

    Anyway, as I've been reading about some of the exhibits in the museum that relate to the Bible (of which there are many) I've been thinking about how such archaeological finds impact Bible films. Various Bible films make claims for accuracy, but to what extent does this rest on the archaeological evidence.

    There are three areas I've though of so far which might have benefited from the exhibits in the museum. The first is in Moses films, such as The Ten Commandments (1956). The props in the picture above obviously draw heavily on the remaining sphinxes (sphinges?) in Egypt, but, to my eye at least, there's also a reliance on the BM's statue of Ramsees II. DeMille's film (which produced a book documenting its research) isn't alone to draw on this statue. the film's namesake from 2006 includes some similar images in this courtyard shot.

    Secondly, there is also the introduction to the Living Christ Series which starts with the ministry of Isaiah and includes a shot of the 5 legged bulls which stand proud in the museum. OBscure but notable certainly.

    Te last, and arguably most surprising place that we found references to some of this stuff is in the headgear of the temple guards in various Jesus films. In Jesus of Nazareth, The Passion of the Christ and BBC's The Passion we find the Jewish guards wearing similar headgear to that found on Jewish prisoners on the Lachish reliefs. The gap of 700 years makes it questionable whether the helmets would have any similarities but it's an interesting source nonetheless.

    Can anyone think of any more?


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