Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Bible Experience

When I first heard of this I was pretty cynical. There's something sinister about marketing a product by referring to it as 'God breathed'. Not that God can't use things like this, but the line between God's work and human manipulation of it is pretty thin.

Having said that, I was impressed with this video clip presentation. The audio Bible cast is impressive and I found the crucifixion clip very moving. Check it out (the trailer is ten minutes long).

You can listen to excerpts for free on the right hand of the website here. What I find particularly interesting is the juxtaposition of Old Testament prophecies and their New Testament fulfilment. Although straight forward narratives such as the gospels are pretty easy to listen to, I wonder how successful the recordings of the Prophets are? Commentators have struggled throughout history to make head or tail of Isaiah. Luther may well have had Isaiah in mind when he commented:

"The prophets have a queer way of talking, like people who, instead of proceeding in an orderly manner, ramble off from one thing to the next, so that you cannot make head or tail of them or see what they are getting at."
I wonder if the atmospheric music, passionate reading and dramatized characters will help ease the complexity?


Bob MacDonald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob MacDonald said...

Too many typos and mis- rememberings - it's a good thing they didn't hire this engine as part of their reading team!

Phil Sumpter said...

Hi Bob,

I'm not sure which engine you mean ... . And who are they?

Bob MacDonald said...

'They' are the team that did the audio book - and 'this engine' is my leaky brain at its finger-tips. Thanks for the post - I was listening to the St John's Cambridge Advent service this morning and thinking how our abilities to say and sing words are variable and culturally conditioned and sentimental, strong, dramatic or whatever. We don't necessarily read justice or a change in behaviour into our performances.

Phil Sumpter said...

We don't necessarily read justice or a change in behaviour into our performances.

I totally agree with you. I worry that this recording will turn into a new fetish, in which the church confuses great art with the unique working of the Holy Spirit. A humble prayerful reading of the most stilted translation can be far more powerful then listening to Samuel Jackson as God with the philharmonic orchestra in the background. The paradox is, God works through the dedicated creativity of the others, which is why it's hard to maintain the distinction.