Though the History Channel's breakout miniseries "The Bible" has scored astronomical ratings
and drawn praise from several celebrities and Christian leaders, some are claiming the drama is not historically accurate.
Rev. Wil Gafney, an Episcopal priest and associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, argues that the History Channel is getting everything wrong about "The Bible," including geography, anthropology, archaeology, biblical studies, theology, race, and ethnicity.
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"The History Channel is engaging in a systematic whitewashing of the Bible, its characters and narratives, with a few telling exceptions," Gafney wrote in a Huffington Post blog post.
"And this matters because of the way that race functions historically in the West, in the United States and in the Church and, how the construction of race in modernity is shaped by, in and, in response to the Scriptures."
Gafney contends that producers manipulated history to make the show more appealing to white audiences.
"Mark Burnett and Roma Downey replaced the life-giving red-brown soil of Fertile Crescent with sandy white soil which would not sustain life so they could show God creating a white man in God's image," she wrote. "That man, like the bulk of the cast, is white like them, like their target audience, unlike the Afro-Asiatic Israelites."
Likewise, in the Examiner's review of "The Bible," critic Charles McAlpin called the marketing of the series "deceptive,"
and ripped the show's first episode for its supposed inaccuracies.
"By the second hour, it is clear the producers had abandoned any attempt at documentary accuracy," McAlpin wrote. "One of the most disturbing stories in the Bible is Jehovah's command to Abraham that he put his own son to human sacrifice. At the last minute, Jehovah changes his mind, and a ram appears to serve as a replacement sacrifice. Not only does the History Channel mistakenly put a lamb in the story, it adds a lot of extraneous and misleading dialog."
"The Bible," produced by husband-and-wife duo Burnett and Downey, drew a massive 13.1 million viewers during its March 3 premiere. The show is split into five two-hour episodes, each of which dramatizes stories from the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, into one overarching narrative.
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