I watched episode 1 of A.D. Wednesday night. I’m not sure what possessed me to do this. I guess it had just been too long since I intentionally watched a Hollywood attempt at biblical revisionism.
If I’d sat down and made predictions before watching I would have expected additions to the biblical narrative, omissions from the biblical narrative and twisted theology. After all, that’s what the History Channel’s Bible miniseries delivered over and over, and that was also created by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. (See my previous posts here, here and here.)
My predictions would have been two-third’s right. The first episode of A.D. delivered both additions to the Bible’s story of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection, as well as omissions from it. But there was no severe theological distortion. I expect that will come in future episodes.
There was extra political intrigue between Caiphas and Joseph of Arimathea (who in A.D. was a member of the Sanhedrin too), Pilate and some Jewish zealots who wanted to overthrow Rome.
A conversation between Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and several disciples about Jesus’ prophecy that he would rise from the dead. Chris Rosebrough pointed out in his review of the first episode that this is not only made up, it contradicts every gospel account. Jesus’ followers did not understand or believe that he would rise from the grave. The women who go to the tomb were taking spices and oil to anoint his DEAD body. The gospel accounts are clear that this was not something the disciples were expecting or hoping for.
In a conversation between Pilate and his wife, Pilate calls Jesus a “handsome” young prophet. A small thing, but once again contradicts the Bible’s description of Jesus’ appearance.
There were also inaccuracies, such as the timing of the darkness. It is clear from the gospels the darkness came hours before Jesus died, not with a storm descending as he breathed his last. The timeline of events was incorrect, since Pilate’s wife came to him and informed him of her dream before he sentenced Jesus to death.
Oh, and the ludicrous ninja angel from the destruction of Sodom episode was back to roll the tomb away. I really should have seen that coming.
All things considered, if you’re going to bother watching A.D., you’d better have your Bible handy so you can reread every account and get the facts straight for yourself.