The final episode of the first season of A.D. (which has been renewed for a second season), brings us to the climax of the story about the statue of Caligula and the attempt to install it in the Temple. Of course in reality it never got anywhere near the Temple, but it makes for good drama. The truth is it only got to Syria, and the governor, Petronius delayed shipping it to Judaea for a year, fearing it would prompt all out civil war, somehow Herod Agrippa, Caligula’s friend, persuaded him to rescind the order and it never came into Jewish territory. One of the interesting side stories that this fictional presentation raises is the relationship between the temple hierarchy and James and the Torah true Christians in Jerusalem. According to Josephus, James was respected right into the 60s by all sorts of Jews in Jerusalem and he was widely known for his piety. So, it is plausible that James would stand with the high priest against a profanation of the Temple. After all, he even asked Paul to go and support Nazaritic vows for various Jewish Christians when Paul arrive in Jerusalem somewhere around A.D. 58.
This episode also plays up the melodrama of Pilate and his wife as well as Caiaphas and his wife, and the latter is found dead by her husband towards the end of the episode. The scene of the fighting of the Zealots against the Romans in the area of the Temple is realistic enough, but is 20 plus years premature, for we are only up to A.D. 40 in the story line.
The redeeming feature of this last episode for this season is the story of the conversion of Cornelius in Joppa, and the dramatizing of Acts 10. This story has been building for some time, as Cornelius has been in most every episode as Pilate’s right hand man. It’s well done, and the scene involving speaking in tongues is especially interesting.
We may expect more of this mixture of history and fiction next season, but lets hope there is a little more strict adherence to the history and what the Biblical story actually says about a variety of things. In the meantime, we may be thankful for any show on a major network that portrays the Christian faith its Biblical stories in a positive light. Stay tuned.