Why are some Bible stories turned into movies more often than others?

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My friend Matt Page is starting a series of posts over at the Bible Films Blog on the question of canonicity and Bible films. Among other things, he asks: Is there a “canon” of Bible films, independent of the biblical canon itself? And is there a reason why certain biblical stories get filmed again and again while others go ignored?

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The life of Isaac, son of Abraham: a movie treatment

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They say middle children are often ignored, compared to the ones who came before and after them. The same could be said of middle patriarchs, too.

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Six cinematic interpretations of the Jewish elder Gamaliel

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Yesterday was the day when Eastern Orthodox Christians remember Gamaliel, the Jewish leader who defended the apostles before the Sanhedrin in Acts 5. So I thought it might be fun to take a quick look at how Gamaliel has been portrayed in film.

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A former King David will now play the king of the Philistines

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Deadline reports that Nathaniel Parker has been cast as Achish, king of the Philistines, in Of Kings and Prophets, the ABC series about Saul, David and Samuel that is currently going through some retooling before it shoots its first season.

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Star Trek and Abraham director Joseph Sargent dies at 89

josephsargent-aJoseph Sargent, an Emmy-winning director who worked on many TV shows and occasional films such as Colossus: The Forbin Project and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, passed away today at the age of 89.

Sargent played a key role in two of the genres that I follow on a regular basis.

First, in 1966, he directed an episode of the original Star Trek series called ‘The Corbomite Maneuver’. It was the first regular episode of that series, following the two pilots, and it was also the episode that introduced the world to Dr McCoy, Lt Uhura and Yeoman Rand.

Then, in 1993, he directed Abraham, one of the first TV-movies produced as part of ‘The Bible Collection’. It starred Richard Harris and Barbara Hershey as Abraham and Sarah (this was only five years after Hershey played Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ), and while it meanders a bit — just like the biblical Abraham did — it’s a fairly decent adaptation of the biblical story.

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Interview: The Red Tent director Roger Young on bringing humanity to Bible stories, the four kinds of love in his new miniseries, and getting Ben Kingsley to play a teenager

rogeryoungIt’s quite possible that Roger Young has directed more feature-length Bible-themed films than any other mainstream filmmaker. Cecil B. DeMille made four or five for the big screen — including two about Moses, one about Jesus, one about Samson and one that takes place shortly after the Book of Acts — but Young, who has worked almost exclusively in television, now has seven such films under his belt.

Between 1995 and 2000, Young directed five installments in the Lux Vide “Bible Collection” series, starting with Joseph — which won the Emmy for best miniseries — and continuing with Moses, Solomon, Jesus and St Paul. More recently, he has revisited some of those stories by directing adaptations of Bible-themed novels.

Last year Reelz aired his adaptation of Par Lagerkvist’s Barabbas, which takes place partly during the ministry of Jesus. And now, on Sunday and Monday night, Lifetime will air his adaptation of The Red Tent, the Anita Diamant novel that tells the stories of Jacob and Joseph through the eyes of their daughter and sister Dinah.

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