Tuesday 8 March 2011

A detached view of scripture? BBC2's "Bible's Buried Secrets"

Next week's Radio Times has an article about a new BBC Two three-part TV series beginning on Tuesday 15th March at 9 pm entitled Bible's Buried Secrets, presented by Dr Francesca Stavrakopolou. The article is titled "The woman who says God was married", and quotes her as follows:
I'm an atheist with a huge respect for religion, not just ancient religions, but modern religions too. As a biblical scholar, I see what I do as an academic discipline, a branch of history, like any other. And as an academic, I think you leave faith at the door. I'm aware that there are some who find it hard to understand why an atheist could possibly be interested in the Bible, and I think that does a massive disservice to a fantastic collection of ancient texts. The Bible is a work of religious and social literature that has a huge impact on Western culture, and for that reason it's important that programmes like these are made.
My own reaction to the prospect of this series is that it might be a refreshingly detached view of the available facts, in contrast to — for instance — Anne Widdecombe's Channel 4 documentary on Mosaic Law (to which I added my own comment — follow that link and scroll down). The Mail Online takes a different view, judging by their first paragraph:
Looking for a presenter for a TV show about the Bible? The ideal candidate is an atheist who believes traditional interpretations of the book are sexist – according to BBC bosses, at least.
Or as Michael Marshall put it in the tweet that alerted me to the Mail article:
"It seems to me that another foreigner working for the BBC is spouting their anti christian dogma again."
— which is a valid characterisation of the slant used by Hannah Roberts and Paul Revoir in the Mail.

It's a bold move by the BBC, but I note it's not being broadcast on Sunday. (At least it's not suffering merely tentative exposure on BBC4.)