Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Nativity gets American premiere on BBC America

Back in 2010, the BBC followed up its successful The Passion (2008) with The Nativity, a two hour drama written by Tony Jordan and stripped across several nights on BBC One (IMDb). I thought it was an excellent drama.  Historical consultant Helen Bond had her own reflections on it.  At the time, I noted that it was to be distributed by BBC Worldwide and hoped that it might get shown in America.

Two years later and The Nativity is about to get its American premiere over on BBC America, on Sunday at 1pm ET/PT.  They are showing it in one fell swoop rather than stripped across several nights, so you'll have to treat it like watching a film.  For those who haven't seen it yet, do try to catch it.

Here's the original BBC One trailer, just 40 seconds' worth, still available on Youtube:

In the lead up to the BBC America showing, Amazon Instant Video and iTunes have made available a free three minute "sneak peak" for downloading.  It's Joseph talking to Joachim and Anna, Mary's parents, and then a nice scene of Joseph and Mary walking and chatting.

This presumably means that the series will be available for purchase on both Amazon and iTunes as soon as it has aired next week, which is all good news.

I am delighted to see that this has made its way to America at last.  If only the BBC had partnered with BBC Worldwide for The Passion, rather than HBO, perhaps we might have had an American release for that by now.

Disambiguation: this is not The Nativity Story, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and released four years earlier in 2006 in cinemas (my review), nor is it Nativity!, a comedy produced by BBC Films a year earlier, in 2009, and starring Martin Freeman.

Update: I've just noticed that The Nativity is also getting repeated this year on BBC HD, on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, 5.30/5.45pm -- The Nativity (including more clips for those in the UK, or with jiggery-pokery skills).

The Talpiyot Tomb and the Bloggers

Several other bloggers (including Joel Watts and Jim West) have mentioned this fine new volume from Eisenbrauns, Archaeology, Bible, Politics, and the Media (great Oxford comma there). It is edited by my esteemed colleagues here in the Duke Religion Department, Eric and Carol Meyers.

The volume is the result of the Duke Conference on this subject held in April 2009.  At the time, I blogged about the conference, and you can listen in to an archive of the talks on our iTunes U.  It is all worth reading, of course, but I am happy to provide access here to my essay in the volume (as well as to the table of contents):

The Talpiyot Tomb and the Bloggers
Mark Goodacre

The essay has a response by AKMA, though I can't reproduce that here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Another Bible Series video

Here's another video featuring scenes from the forthcoming History Channel series, The Bible:

It's largely the same scenes released in the first look the other day, but with some added shots of Jesus at the end, and set to a song by Blake Shelton.

My previous posts on the series are gathered here: The Bible Series, History Channel, 2013. .

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Did Jesus Exist? with Richard Carrier and me on Unbelievable?

Premier Christian Radio's Unbelievable? with Justin Brierly today featured a discussion about the historicity of Jesus with Richard Carrier and me. You can listen here:

Unbelievable? Did Jesus Exist?  Richard Carrier vs. Mark Goodacre
Richard Carrier is the world's foremost proponent of the "mythicist" view of Jesus - that he never actually existed as a historical person. He explains his theory that St. Paul only ever spoke of Jesus in the spiritual realm and that the Gospels are "extended parables". Mark Goodacre is NT professor at Duke University. He contends that Carrier's mythicist view is extrememly far fetched and the evidence for the historical Jesus is beyond reasonable doubt.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scenes from The Bible series, set to CeeLo Green

Also newly released this evening, this montage of scenes from The Bible series (History Channel, March 2013) set to "Mary Did You Know?" by CeeLo Green. The montage includes scenes from several episodes in the New Testament half of the series, including the Nativity, Jesus' Life and Passion, and Paul:


 Other posts on The Bible series are here.

The Bible Series -- First Look!

The first clip of the The Bible Series (History Channel, 2013) has been released tonight. Suitably enough, it's the Nativity scene:


The Bible dramatizes key narratives from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and it is executive produced by Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel). It is produced by Lightworkers Media.  I and several others have acted as consultants.  You can follow The Bible Series on Facebook. My previous post on the series is here: The Bible Series, History Channel, 2013.

Beverly Gaventa to join Baylor

Beverly Roberts Gaventa is moving to Baylor.  Details here:

WACO, Texas (Dec. 11, 2012) - Baylor University Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis, Ph.D., has announced the appointment of Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Ph.D., as Distinguished Professor of New Testament Interpretation in the department of religion at Baylor University. Dr. Gaventa currently serves as Helen H.P. Manson Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she has taught for 21 years. She will join Baylor beginning in fall 2013.
Dr. Gaventa received her Ph.D. from Duke University under the supervision of W.D. Davies and her M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York, where she studied with J. Louis Martyn and Raymond E. Brown. She holds Honorary Doctorates from Christian Theological Seminary and Kalamazoo College. She also is an honorary professor of New Testament at Stellenbosch University in South Africa . . . .
. . . . "Distinguished Professors have a unique role in helping to clarify and articulate Baylor's mission to be a research university with a distinctively Christian identity," Provost Davis said. "The serious study of the Bible is a central part of that identity, and Dr. Beverly Gaventa has established herself as one of the leading New Testament scholars in the world who engage in theological interpretation of the Christian Scriptures. She brings to Baylor a sterling reputation as a scholar/teacher, and she will, in splendid ways, build on the legacy left by her predecessor, Dr. Charles H. Talbert, Distinguished Professor of Religion Emeritus."
Read the whole announcement here. Thanks to Mike Parsons and Mike Whitenton for the news.

Friday, December 07, 2012

NT Pod 63: Conflicting Christmas Stories

It's that time of year again, the time for the release of the Christmas episode of the NT Pod!  So I have interrupted the series on the Gospel of Thomas, for NT Pod 63: Conflicting Christmas Stories.

The episode explores the differences between the Birth Narratives in Matt. 1-2 and Luke 1-2 and asks how this can be the case if Luke is familiar with Matthew.

This is now the fourth year of the NT Pod Christmas episode.  You can find the others here: NT Pod Christmas episodes.

You can listen to the NT Pod online or subscribe in your preferred reader or subscribe via iTunes.  You can also find the NT Pod on Facebook, or follow the NT Pod on Twitter.