Monumental: Shouldn’t a movie about history be historically correct?

Crosswalk published my commentary today on the revisionism of the movie Monumental.

In it, I look at three claims made in the clips released in advance of the movie. Specifically, did Thomas Jefferson and a dozen founders financed the Thompson Hot Press Bible of 1798? Did Congress print the Aitken Bible and recommend it as a “neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for use in schools?” Was the Jefferson Bible just a devotional book and not an extraction of miracles and divinity?

I hope you will go read, tweet and like it.

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  • Gus
  • Patrocles

    “Revision” is in itself neither good nor bad. It’s only the class in power – in fear of losing their authority over people’s mind – who uses “revisionism” as a kind of invective.

  • David M.

    Patrocles, I think the point here is, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts” (attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan).

  • Zoe Brain

    I see the accusations that you’re an instrument of Satan have already started in the comments.

    How many “single isolated incidents” like this will it take before you admit that they’re not isolated at all? You are. There’s no room for your way of thinking in today’s US Evangelical movement.

    Eppur si muove. You can do no other. There’s no discouragement shall make you once relent.

    Just don’t expect them to change, nor to refrain from doing all in their power to rid themselves of this turbulent psychologist.

  • Richard Willmer

    When a nut job calls me ‘an instrument of Satan’, I take it as a compliment!

    Popularity is probably rather more dangerous to the soul than being called names.

    Like the reference to the ‘turbulent psychologist’ (very ‘historical’ :-) )!

  • Warren Throckmorton

    Zoe – Appreciate the thoughts but there are many others doing similar work. Biologos in the origins debate comes to mind. I have many colleagues here at GCC here are fellow travelers as well.

    Richard – Another resume building designation. Actually, when I was in my rocker days, I played an instrument of Satan — the electric guitar. I mean I still play it but when I was young in the evangelical world, before CCM, I was told that the guitar and rock and roll was the instrument of Satan.

  • Boo

    Your theological education is woefully inadequate. Everyone knows the devil plays the fiddle.

  • Kyle

    Yeah, there are quite a number of us evangelicals who are science and history friendly :). More than you might think. We just tend to be much quieter!!

  • Warren Throckmorton

    Boo – You are not thinking multiculturally. I grew up in Southern Ohio. Acoustic guitars and fiddles were tolerated in church. It was the electrification of anything that made it evil.

  • Boo

    So an electric fiddle would be like concentrated evil?

  • Warren Throckmorton

    Boo – Unspeakable evil.

  • Richard Willmer

    Of course: “the Devil has all the good music”! I remember that!

    Here’s some good music (no electricals, I’m afraid) to usher in Passion (Palm) Sunday:

    One more little irony: who’d have thought, thirty years ago, that a full-on ‘bells-and-smell’s’ outfit would be processing in to a spot of Graham Kendrick? But we will be!

  • Richard Willmer

    It’s “Why does the Devil have all the good music?”, isn’t it?

    (My selection of Weekles’ piece above is not entirely accidental, by the way: polyphonic music was once considered ‘satanic’, I believe. How can anything so sublimely beautiful be thought of in such a way?!)

  • David M.

    @Richard Willmer: “Polyphonic music was once considered ‘satanic’, I believe. How can anything so sublimely beautiful be thought of in such a way?!”

    Unless I miss my guess, it is exactly that it is so sublimely beautiful that made it suspect. There was (and in some quarters still is) the fear that people would be distracted from the truth of the words by the beauty or intricacy of the music. I’m not aware of the view that polyphonic music was satanic, but I am aware of cetain medieval monastic authors who decried the excesses of other monks who sang polyphonically.

  • Zoe Brain


    Yeah, there are quite a number of us evangelicals who are science and history friendly :) . More than you might think. We just tend to be much quieter!!

    I believe you. I also believe that silence implies consent, and that for Evil to triumph, it is sufficient that good men do nothing.

    You shouldn’t have to be Activists, politically loud. I know it’s against your calm, reasonable nature. If you don’t want to see Evangelism completely hijacked by mendacious Pharisees, you’ll have to though.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ David M.

    On yes – I’m sure you’ve hit on a very important point there. (I’m not sure if that piece is strictly polyphonal … but it’s certainly sumptuously exquisite – the way I like my ‘religion’!)

  • Boo

    @ Zoe Brain:

    Well unfortunately no one invites me on tv.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Boo

    It does strike me that the ‘extremists’ make a lot of noise, and some seem to have quite a bit of cash – hence they can ‘buy’ a ‘high profile’.

    Quite. constant work ‘off screen’ can be very effective, and people like you and I are doing our best! Warren, of course, puts a lot of work into his blog, and this is proving very effective (I often try to make sure that people with whom I’m discussing issues get a sight of it). Every little helps.

    There is, within the Church, quite a ‘battle of ideas’ at the moment. The fundamental problem, as I see it, is theological: the ‘dominionist’ line (and other associated nastiness, such as LGBT-bashing) derives from a wrong understanding of God (and therefore of the Bible). Much of ‘christian extremism’ is the product of a profound fear to engage fruitfully with the questions that always come with taking reality seriously …

  • Richard Willmer

    I meant “Quiet, constant …” at the start of para. 2.

  • Boo

    Part of the problem is that it’s not simply one “the church.” More liberal denominatons like Episcopalians and Lutherans have little to no interaction with fundamentalist churchES. We Episcopalians of course have our well publicized splits of congregations trying to leave and take the dioceses’ property with them, but I still don’t see news organizations inviting the bishops on to talk abot how anti-gay congregations are perverting God’s Word.

  • Richard Willmer

    The situation is perhaps better on this side of the Atlantic. Perhaps we Western European Christians simply have less time for religious extremism, and splits in, for example, the Church of England are somehow less acrimonious, with many people on all sides of the various ‘divides’ trying to find ways to keep us all together.

    As for ‘the Word of God’: he is Jesus, not the Bible … and getting this wrong is actually the basis of fundamentalist ‘heresy’.