Tuesday, January 23, 2007

NGTV Cain and Abel Documentary

A few months ago I did some consulting for National Geographic Television's Science of the Bible series, mostly with regard to their planned documentary on the story of Cain and Abel. Although I discussed a wide range of ancient materials with them, my primary input had to do with possible Egyptian influences on the development of the story. As a result they did some filming in Egypt for visual emphasis and did an on-camera interview with an Egyptologist who works over there.

I just had an opportunity this evening to review a DVD of the work copy and I'm pleased to note that they retained some of the Egyptian ideas, including a trip into one of the third millennium pyramids to show some of the pre-biblical pyramid texts painted on the walls with similar story lines. I also make a couple of brief on-camera appearances to provide some context, but, unfortunately, from a studio in Washington D.C., not from Egypt.

The show is quite well done and enjoyable, beginning with some dramatic re-enactment of the story and raising a lot of questions about the story's moral meanings and how it was used over the centuries to persecute Jews and Africans (in contradiction to the story's moral message.) It also covers some of the non-biblical traditions associated with the story in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures, and towards the end presents some speculations on how the story may have originated. Visually it was quite attractive.

At present, I don't think it has been scheduled for airing so I'm sure it's several months off at a minimum. When I learn something, I'll let you know.


Anonymous said...

Normally when there are dramatic re-enactments of ancient history they use Europeans (some say white people) as ancient Africans, such as the ancient Egyptians. Are they still lying about the image of the original people?

Joe Wiecha said...

Oh, no...we used a very fine cast of professional actors from Morocco...no Europeans. Even our St. Augustine was correctly cast as being of Arabic descent.