On Sunday evenings in New Zealand on TV ONe, the 8:30pm timeslot is for fiction. Certainly that will be the case this evening.

They will be showing Investigator Special – Jesus, the Cold Case. Bryan Bruce, well-known contemporary cold case television documentary maker, attempts to apply his skills to an area outside his expertise: the death of Jesus two millennia ago.

I read the book, Jesus: the cold case, and found it riddled with errors and contradictions that I would expect anyone with good secondary-school Religious Education knowledge to pick up. But hey – this is New Zealand, where 85% of the population have not had such an education. The perfect country to sell this book! TV One‘s programming, however, may lose it some regular Sunday evening viewers. There is much better fiction this evening on Māori Television where they are showing Amélie.

click for my review of the book Jesus: the cold case

Update: Hard to keep up with the errors while I’m watching (later clarification – these lines are copies of some of the tweets I was sending at the same time as the programme was showing. People were following the tweets during that showing. Hence the unusual genre of some of the following lines)

  • The Gospel of Mark says “third hour” Bruce thinks this means 3 o clock in the afternoon.
  • Bruce says “Luke claims 3 wise men…” LOL! That’s Matthew & he does not mention 3 persons – just 3 gifts (this you would learn in Year 9 Religious Education! ie a 13 year old is expected to know this…)
  • Bruce’s attempt to demonstrate errors in the passion accounts from the variants of the cutting of the ear in Gethsemane is a very weak starting point. Nothing is demonstrated by his example. Could do better.
  • So Crossan and Vermes disagree whether Jesus could read. Shouldn’t Bruce conclude that we be very wary about any scholarship of the period? And that his own attempt might be as far off as one of these experts clearly must be…
  • Bruce says, “Aramaic is an ancient form of Hebrew” LOL!
  • Bruce: the buried Lazarus with cymbals in case a person was buried alive & that’s the origin of “saved by the bell”. Anyone know if this has any veracity?
  • Spong now has Judas as a construct to image the Jews!
  • Bruce has Mark’s story of the trial before the High Priest being against the Torah. Where in the Torah please Bruce?
  • Geering: “all his followers had fled” hmmm… clearly hasn’t read the gospels…
  • “Mark was written during the war” – Bruce seems unsure whether to go with this or not…
  • Sadly Bruce cannot distinguish “Jew” and “Judean” because, I suspect, he cannot read Greek?
  • So now Bruce has Marcion as the first anti-semitic? I thought Bruce said the New Testament was rewritten to be antisemitic?

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