Tee, as they say, Hee

One thing I am grateful for:  Catholics at least don’t waste a lot of time on arguments about “scientific evidence for the the flood of Noah” and all that.  My own inclination is to think that there is some kind of primordial traumatic flood at the back of the story, given the ubiquity of flood narratives in global culture.  But I am highly skeptical the author of Genesis would find creationist (and atheist)  fundamentalist quarrels about the historicity of the Flood narrative that interesting or pertinent to his central point.  As far as he is concerned, his little corner of planet earth is “the world”.  The main thing he cares about the is the meaning of the story.

  • anna lisa

    I don’t really care if the flood was regional or worldwide, but I remember laughing at some TLC special that said Noah and his family floated on a swollen river, surviving on beer. I guess that would mesh with accounts of Noah gettin’ his drink on.
    We took our assistant pastor with us to the movie, and then went out for drinks, and listened to a band, so we had to shout at each other about what we liked or didn’t like. That was more fun than the movie.

    • tteague

      That’s how Christians should watch movies more often – movie, then beer + discussion.

  • Michael Lynch

    One of the more interesting takes on the Flood narrative that I’ve read is in The Genesis Question by Hugh Ross. He takes the Flood story in Genesis as a true account of an actual event, but argues that the details as given in the text prove that it wasn’t global. In other words, a literal reading of Genesis demands a regional flood instead of a global one.

    Ross is an astrophysicist and a Christian, and has written quite a bit of work against both atheism and YEC. I don’t always agree with him, but I’ve always found his books both provocative and helpful.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      Yeah, Ross is one of the least egregious and more interesting Special Creationists out there. His take on the first seven days, while not, I think in the end, correct, was at least an interesting and not totally flat-footed reading.

  • Dave G.

    Nobody panics ? The Passion of the Christ? Where was he from 2003 – 2004?

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Indeed. I seem to remember some people suggesting that the “demon kids” were more evidence of Gibson’s anti-Semitism since they were Jewish children (i.e.. Jews are devils).

      • Dan C

        I am no fan of Gibson’a extra-biblical source material, but this conclusion may have to rest on a lot of relation to other anti-Semitic material. In itself, it is not purely evidences, in my opinion.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          Since the children only looked like demons in Judas’s perception, I took it as a sign of the traitor’s descent into a madness of regret and despair. Those innocent kids were just asking, “What’s wrong?” but in his distorted vision he could only see them as evil. Of course, Gibson’s disgusting behavior two years later only seemed to justify such charges against the film.

          • Dave G.

            Bad behavior of people is often used to justify charges against a greater group. Never forget, the conversation that year moved from the movie being antisemitic and racist to discussions about the NT being, in itself, antisemitic and racist. And the conclusion many had from that year was that yes, the Gospels are the precursors of Mein Kampf, and nobody can deny it. It’s sad that Gibson gave validity to a viewpoint that would have remained no matter what. I remember Get Religion having a long series of discussions about Gibson, the charges against the Church and Faith, and how it was and wasn’t covered. If I remember, it was an interesting series of posts.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              I do remember that critics of the film ultimately indicted the New Testament itself for alleged anti-Semitism. It wasn’t just limited to charges against Mel Gibson and his father.

              • Dave G.

                Oh not at all. I said that was really when at least one segment of the post-Christian world revealed its hand. To adhere to a traditional telling of the Gospel narrative was to be racist. Evil. That was the justification used by those who were calling for the movie to be banned, and trying to prevent anyone from distributing it in the US. How to justify something that sounded so McCarthy-like? Easy. Evil. And of course, those who cling to old traditional takes on the Gospel were just as guilty. It was said and written many times, much to the shock of not a few Christians. Which is why so many rallied around the film. Back then. Way back then. Before we seemed to conclude the enemy to worry about is our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Even Fundamentalists I knew set aside the Catholic elements of the film for the greater cause of rallying against the first obvious seeds of future oppression. Seems like an age ago. But that’s what made it so successful, why so many were willing to overlook things, and why the “panic” around The Passion makes the whole Noah debate seem like a kindergarten scuffle by comparison.

          • chezami

            I’ve got no problem with the demon kids or the creepy baby. I thought they were interesting artistic choices. I merely am amused by the sudden fundamentalism of Catholics freaking about because, golly, a midrash fleshes out and adds material not found in a couple of hundred words of Scripture.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              I didn’t have much of a problem with those elements of TPOTC either. It was a powerful film with some flaws as well, but I tend to see it as bigger than Gibson himself, since so many other people were involved in making it, including some incredible actors and actresses.

              As for this Noah movie, I’m not among its critics or supporters. Haven’t seen it and probably won’t since I’m not much of a movie person. Having read reviews from Catholics both for and against it, everything is as clear as mud to me right now. But I agree that extra-biblical elements in a movie aren’t necessarily a bad thing in and of themselves.

    • chezami

      You do ge, don’t you, the the people who panicked about The Passion of the Christ, were not panicking about the creepy kids, right?

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        True, Gibson’s supporters gave him a considerable amount of leeway with the extra-biblical stuff in TPOTC. I guess that’s because he was seen as a fellow believer and therefore trusted to tell the story “right” despite some heavy artistic license. Maybe not so much with Aronofsky.

        • Rebecca Fuentes

          I think that’s it. I also see lots of freaking out over his quote about it being, “the least biblical bible-movie”, which I think refers to how he pulled from the Jewish sources and some of the other old flood stories. I want to see it, but I doubt the local theater will even bring it, since we have a strong evangelical-fundamentalist population here. I can wait for DVD.

          • Dave G.

            Evangelicals and Fundamentalists? Whew. Sorry. How horrible. Truly your town is to be pitied.

            • Dan C

              That is a sad town indeed.

              • Dave G.

                Yeah, is there anything worse than those type of people?

                • Rebecca Fuentes

                  They’re just dreadful. :) I should know, since I’m friends with so many of them, spend so much time with them, have their teenagers babysit my kids, do book groups with them, call them to pray for us when things are tough . . .
                  And then there the Mennonites. Those Mennonites actually bake meals for people and bring them to their HOUSES! Crazy world.
                  I love them, but a smart theater owner here would look at Noah, recognize that it probably won’t bring in many people and opt for a different film.

                  • Dave G.

                    Me too. Which is why you’d know there’s no reason why the theater owner would worry. I’m beginning to think the old categories are shifting, and many of us aren’t noticing.

        • Dave G.

          No. It was because people saw the faith under assault. That’s why fundamentalists and evangelicals walked arm in arm with Catholics into a pretty Catholic take on the Passion narrative. That’s why it was a smashing success, and why subsequent attempts at herding the church crowds haven’t been as successful. People heard the calls to ban Gibson’s movie, and heard the justification being its inherent racism and antisemitism (from being based on a racist and antisemitic document) and felt that coming out to support it, despite whatever embellishments he might have added, could be a better tactic.

          • Rosemarie

            +J.M.J+

            I don’t deny that was part of it. Yet I think it’s also true that people believed that Gibson’s film would be genuinely Christian in the end, regardless of any additions not found in the sacred text. This Noah movie, OTOH, does not take a Christian perspective or approach to the story. So some Christians will be more likely to (rightly or wrongly) react negatively to its deviations from the Scriptural account.

            • Dave G.

              Oh, I don’t think people doubted the intention was to make a Christian, and traditional Christian, understanding of the Passion narrative. For many critics, that was the problem. And of course the changes in any movie aren’t the problem sometimes as much as what is behind the changes. An entire movie about Noah is going to have to have some additions. It’s why and what they’re for, that will be the topic of the debate.

            • Marthe Lépine

              I read somewhere else that Mr. Aronofsky, being Jewish, also took into account some other classic Jewish texts when producing that movie. Therefore it may not be entirely reasonable to complain that the movie “does not take a Christian perspective or approach to the story.” If the movie had been produced by a Christian, there might be reason to criticize him for “deviations from the Scriptural account”, but in this case is is perfectly understandable that this Noah movie is more Jewish than Christian.

              • Rosemarie

                +J.M.J+

                That’s true.

        • Dan C

          Because Gibson served conservativism’s god.

          • Dave G.

            Yep, the only logical way to see anything is how it is perceived by conservatives. If they don’t like it, it must not be a big deal. Perspective and rational observation alive and well on the Catholic blogosphere.

      • Dave G.

        Well, if they didn’t panic about creepy kids, ti was the only thing they didn’t panic about. I mean, we all remember the year long scandal surrounding that movie. Don’t we? That makes this look tame by comparison.

  • The Deuce

    I think it’s interesting that both Philo and Josephus considered the flood to be a regional event, perhaps in part because by their time, “the whole world” had taken on different connotations than it had had before, and they were aware of that.

    • chezami

      Damn libruls!

  • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

    I saw Noah last night and loved it. Heartbroken that I can’t blog about it, because blog has disappeared into remote cyberspace due to database error.

    One of the odd little details at the beginning of the film was a picture of a globe with dots that I presume represented places of human habitation. They are all over the globe. Also Noah talks about people attacking each other “nation against nation” — all of whom deserve to be destroyed. So — in the film it’s clearly a worldwide flood. It’s just one of a number of ways in which the Genesis account is taken quite literally — e.g. the ten generations from Adam to Noah, Enoch “walking on” instead of dying, etc.

  • Dan C

    Madeleine L’Engle fictionalization the flood narrative serving a message of chastity to some degree. Nephilim were featured. Yet, no outrage.

    Because it serves a conservative god.

    • Dan C

      A flood narrative with time travelers for teen readers. No outrage.

      • Dave G.

        You’re right. I remember all that silly outrage about the Last Temptation of Christ and The Da Vinci Code. There’s no figuring why people get so upset over artistic license.

        • Dan C

          Eh… Be outraged if one spent the (if I recall) $5 /ticket on The Last Temptation…it was a dreadful movie that did not do justice to a bad book.

          • Dave G.

            Most of the outrage, if I recall, had little to do with the quality and more to do with the speculative story line. But then, why worry? It’s just artistic license. No different in one movie than another.

            • Dan C

              Yes. It came out during the muscular era of the Moral Majority so that any non-sola scriptura message would be ill-received. There is rare outrage over poor art. There is outrage over certain matters re: Islam and re: Evangelical Christians. There is a distinct difference in quality of those levels of outrage though.

              • Dave G.

                Of course there is a difference in quality of those levels. As it should be. A biblical movie that digresses to praise little children playing in fields together, and one that does so to praise Nazis, should get different levels of outrage. Same with Dan Brown. Seems there was quite a bit of outrage over his historical embellishments, when there are other movies and books that do the same and yet didn’t quite get the level of outrage. Because – and this might be tough to reckon with – it isn’t always about Conservatives yes or no. Sometimes it’s common sense and matters of faith and morals that cut across such lines.

                • Fr. Denis Lemieux

                  Well, in the case of Dan Brown, I think it was because it was a mega-best seller (which speaks poorly indeed of the literary tastes of the North American people), and many people (I know some personally) actually believed it to be an accurate depiction of Church history, and were swayed away from faith. So it was perceiving the actual harm done by his book (moreso than the movie, by which time the Da Vinci code fever had peaked, pretty well), that caused the uproar. And it seems that most of that uproar was some very fine books being written exposing the puerile nonsense of Dan Brown’s contentions – hardly a fatwa, in other words.

  • Colleen

    Has no-one seen “The Ten Commandments?” Umm….let’s see…G-d doesn’t show up until the last hour or so and we spend most of our story line on a strange love triangle. I love a shirtless Yul Brynner just as much as the next gal, but I wouldn’t say that the movie sticks to the exact biblical version. And yet nobody freaks out about that. I haven’t seen “Noah” but I want to. I actually wish they would have borrowed more from L’Engle’s “Many Waters.” Because that was a pretty sweet book.

    • Dave G.

      Perhaps it’s the content of the additions, not just the presence of additions. A fictionalized love story that comes out of silence from the narrative is one thing. Adding things that might be seen as against the faith’s teachings could be another. I haven’t seen it yet, so can’t really say. But let’s not argue that factual or other types of embellishments are all the same, or Catholics owe Dan Brown an apology. After all, there are a ton of books and movies out there that do what Brown did to the historical record, and nobody cared about them. Clearly it’s more than just ‘he added something.’

  • Charles Ryder

    “Distracted from distraction by distraction…”

    T.S. Eliot
    Burnt Norton
    The Four Quartets


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X