Is A.D. The Bible Continues Biblically Accurate? (Episode 3)

No, strictly speaking. A.D. sometimes portrays persons and events that are not in the Bible.

A.D. the Bible Continues attempts to flesh out the story of the 1st century Church, and more fully develop characters like Pilate, Caiaphas and Jesus’ disciples. Anyone who has ever attended a Sight and Sound Theatre production knows that this requires artistic license. Still, some scenes in A.D.’s 3rd episode might seem a bit perplexing. For example:

Ecce Homo ("Behold the Man"),  by Antonio Ciseri

Ecce Homo (“Behold the Man”), by Antonio Ciseri

Peter and his daughter. Maya is not found in the Bible, but her appearance helps us imagine Peter the father (A.D. portrays him as widowed). Matthew 8:14 and 1 Corinthians 9:5 indicate that he did marry, so the character of Maya is a believable one.

Herod Antipas and Herodias. Luke 23:6-12 tell us that Herod attended Passover during Jesus’ trial, but says nothing about his returning for Pentecost. It is entirely possible that he did, so his processional into Jerusalem in episode 3 is not a complete stretch in imagination.

However, there are some problems with A.D.’s Herod. Luke tells us that Herod and Pilate became friends (v.12), while A.D. portrays them as enemies. Also, A.D.’s Herod considers himself the guardian of the Temple, even though he ruled in Galilee, not Judea.

Pilate. Vincent Regan (remember him from that awful movie 300?) is a pretty convincing Roman tyrant, but A.D.’s Pilate requires some imagination. We do not know that he attended the feast of Pentecost in A.D. 30, corrupted the Jewish temple or killed eyewitnesses to the resurrection. However, these actions do reflect the Pilate of history, who brought Roman eagle standards into the temple, used temple money to build an aqueduct and ordered his soldiers to randomly beat and kill Jewish protestors.

Pentecost. Acts 2 focuses on the filling of the 12 and Peter’s Pentecost sermon, but A.D. dwells on Pilate’s brutality, and Caiaphas’ and Herod’s scheming. This is unfortunate, but this is Hollywood.

If you want a Bible movie without the artistic license, I recommend The Gospel of John. If you don’t mind it, then A.D. The Bible Continues does a pretty good job at building drama, suspense and action. Isn’t that what television viewers want?

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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2 Responses to Is A.D. The Bible Continues Biblically Accurate? (Episode 3)

  1. Janice says:

    Corey, thank you for posting this. I have been watching A.D. The Bible and have been enjoying it; however, there does seem to be much more than is in the Bible. I was going to ask you about Peter’s daughter. Interesting, down to the detail of a bracelet.

  2. Pingback: Is A.D. The Bible Continues Biblically Accurate? (Episode 4) | The Other Six Days

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