Thursday, December 21, 2006
the bible experience
Denzel Washington reading the Song of Solomon? Well, that might be enough to get The Bible Experience, published by Zondervan. This is a 70 hour dramatic reading of the Bible by an all African American cast - the only such project ever done. Dramatic readings of the Bible are not typically something I go for; it's even a little possible I would find a project like this, well, "hokey" or silly. However, the caliber of artists involved in this one makes me wonder just a little. I've heard a few excerpts and it's actually pretty interesting. Of course, I've only heard excerpts that lend themselves to performance. I wonder how riveting Deuteronomy will be...
A few things that are rolling around in my head are:
1. I believe that the Bible can be a performance piece. (Certainly the power of performance is missing in most of our churches! Maybe hearing good "productions" might help people remember there are feeling and meaning in the words. Some are humorous...some words are sarcastic...some are playful. Do we always have to read as though each word were serious and somber? But I digress...) As such, some license has to be made with the text. Therefore, a performance of the Bible should not be considered something for study. Rather, it's to learn the general stories, for devotion, and for pleasure...basic education, yes, okay.
2. This is the NIV or the tNIV...not particularly scholarly works, but then, if #1 above applies, this shouldn't matter. It is important, though. As dull as it sounds, textual variance and translation issues significantly impact (even make or fundamentally change) meaning.
3. A woman asked to play God and was denied. God is a dude in this play. Hmmm... This raises the age old issue of genderizing God and who has access to speak for God...
4. It's a great cast with really high production value.
5. What would someone do with 70 hours of the Bible? I mean, really, what would someone do?
6. Denzel Washington, Blair Underwood, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding, Jr, and 76 of your fave actors are in it...not shabby.
Is anyone going to buy or download this? Oh, just in time for Christmas, Angela Bassett telling the birth of Jesus is free from itunes.
UPDATE: I am almost finished listening to the story; I've not heard Angela Bassett yet...hmmm...not great advertizing...
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