Did anyone watch the Channel 4 programme "Who wrote the Bible" presented by Robert Beckford on Christmas day? Please make comments and offer any opinions you may have about it because I was certainly quite interested by what was said. To get your two hour documentary on the Bible shown on national television Christmas Day afternoon/evening is no mean achievement, however, it was Channel 4, the channel that last night showed "Wife Swap", followed by "Na*ed Britain" followed by "Diary of a Teenage Nu*ist." It makes me wonder what their criteria for airing something might be!

I've got some questions of my own:

  1. Why discredit the Exodus without presenting any credible evidence? Good debate requires at least two opposing views.
  2. Why not discuss the Criteria for Canonicity?
  3. Why say that Tyndale could (in describing him setting out to translate the Bible into English) "put his creative skills to work" rather than "skills in accurate translation" unless one was pushing their own agenda?
  4. Why focus the camera on the Bishop of Durham's ring like he was some weirdo for wearing it as he was providing an answer to one of your questions? Cut out the subliminal stuff!
  5. Why interview George Bush's advisor when this is supposed to be an historical documentary? What's that got to do with the price of fish?
  6. What have"Stalin" and "Martin Luther King" got to do with this question? How exactly is the Bible like something out of Stalin's Russia? Communists weren't exactly fond of religious text.
  7. Why not discuss the oral tradition that was around at the first century AD, where people were used to memorising historical information and large texts (like the Torah) in their everyday lives? That's what people in a largely illiterate society tend to get good at.
  8. Why not discuss alternative motives early Christians may have had for writing gospel accounts other than self promotion and in the face of persecution? Not many people are willing to be persecuted/executed for believing the fiction they created themselves.
  9. Why not answer the question in your own documentary with something more conclusive than something plainly wishy washy. The message I got was (and I'm paraphrasing), "Use your own instincts to decipher this mess that is the Bible. It's probably not very accurate, definitely not inspired by God, but I believe it nevertheless." Surely this isn't sensible.

Let's have something with some journalistic quality. There are plenty of good books on the subject.

Robert Beckford