When do Historical Inaccuracies Matter?

When do Historical Inaccuracies Matter? March 11, 2014

Russell Crowe film ‘Noah’ edited to appease Christians upset by ‘historical inaccuracies’”

“historical inaccuracies” … *eyetwitch*

Writing on his blog last year, Answers In Genesis president Ken Ham noted that the film’s script “is not at all faithful to the biblical account in Genesis.” Ham believes the trailer for the film is “a Hollywood con” designed to lure unsuspecting Jews and Christians to witness “an unbiblical production.”

He lists the many ways in which the film does not accurately reflect his interpretation of what happened in Genesis 6. He notes that “Noah’s family only consists of his wife, three sons, and one daughter-in-law, contrary to the Bible.” Moreover, “[i]t appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today.”

Here’s something that gets me. I was sitting in a diner down south when Mel Gibson’s Passion came out. Folks there praised it constantly. It was “inspired,” it was “a work of faith and artistry”. But Gibson put in a lot of non-biblical material, like the scene where Judas is chased by demonic children. Gibson had drawn a lot of his material from Anne Catherine Emmerich and other Catholic sources. Yet I heard no one accuse it of being “unbiblical” of “historically inaccurate.”

My guess is that it’s part of the tribalism of American evangelical Christianity. Gibson was one of the faithful, and so his deviations from the script were accepted. Aronofsky is not one of the tribe, so when he doesn’t stick to the letter of the Bible, or depicts Noah as a fully human character, he gets folks like Ray Comfort quite perturbed.

But that makes no sense on the face of it. Gibson is part of a fringe sect of Catholicism who has openly said that people who aren’t Catholic will go to hell. (He was married to an Anglican at that point. No surprise that marriage didn’t last.) He’s not part of the tribe. So what gives?

Browse Our Archives