“If you know the Bible, you’ll enjoy seeing the stories come to life. If you’ve never read the Bible, I think you’ll love the stories. There’s a reason the Bible is the most widely read book in the world.”
How heartening it is to know that in this era filled with high tech, computers, confusion, and violence, there is still a yearning for timeless stories about the human condition — stories that connect us through brokenness and frailty. And how amazing that Mark Burnett, the same TV producer who brought us “Survivor” and “The Apprentice,” is turning his talents to bringing the Bible to life via a 10-hour, five-part docudrama that will air on the History Channel. As Mark puts it: “What we’ve done is a grand narrative of emotionally connected stories.”
Herman Wouk, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who’s just written a book called The Lawgiver updating the story of Moses, recently said that there’s nothing like the Bible around for storytelling. Ernest Hemingway is said to have memorized long passages of the Bible by heart so he could absorb their cadence and lyricism and bring them to his own work. And that reclusive poet extraordinaire, Emily Dickinson, admired its rich language. She felt that the Bible and Shakespeare’s writing, along with a few other works she treasured, gave her enough literary light to chart her own path.
Noah’s Ark, Daniel in the lions’ den, David and Goliath, Jacob wrestling with the angel — how rich and nourishing these stories are! Think how long they’ve endured, how many writers they’ve inspired, how many ways they’ve been retold, remolded, refreshed, reinterpreted. As writers, what can we learn from these timeless tales to enrich our own storytelling? Should we be reading the Bible for inspiration? Something to think about. Write on.