Bible the Ten Commandments and Moses Term Paper

Pages: 30 (9614 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Bible, The Ten Commandments, And Moses

Before discussing the central aspects of this section it is interesting to refer to the views of Huston on religion; which may throw light on his interpretation of the Biblical text. This will also show that there is certain thematic unity that flows throughout the film with regard to the director's particular interpretation of the Bible. The following is part of an interview response by Huston to the question, "Do you believe in God?" In the beginning, the Lord God was in love with mankind and accordingly jealous. He was forever asking mankind to prove our affection for Him: for example, seeing if Abraham would cut his son's throat. But then, as eons passed, His ardor cooled and He assumed a new role -- that of a beneficient deity. All a sinner had to do was confess and say he was sorry and God forgave him. The fact of the matter was that He had lost interest. That was the second step. Now it would appear that He'd forgotten about us entirely. He's taken up, maybe, with life elsewhere in the universe on another planet. it's as though we ceased to exist

Huston on making the Bible)

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The above extract is quoted at length as it provides insight into the interpretative problems of the following three sections. The quotation is also instructive in that it sheds light on the way that Huston sees the God of the Old Testament. He views this God as essentially a God of jealousy and dominance, which is a theme that is repeatedly referred to in the film. Huston also mentions the view that, " He was forever asking mankind to prove our affection for Him." This is a facet that is repeated in all the different sections of the film and especially in God's instruction to Abraham to sacrifice his own son. A third related factor is that Huston describes God in human terms as being "in love" with mankind. This humanized view of God is also a central aspect that impacts on the way that Huston views and interprets the Biblical text.

Term Paper on Bible the Ten Commandments and Moses Assignment

Adam and Eve as the archetypal human beings are portrayed in a way that fosters questions and ambiguity in the Bible. In the first instance they seemingly do not have any desires other than to live in the garden and to obey God. They initially have no need to know about themselves. In its beginning the film portrays Adam and Eve as blank slates on which God writes his will. The appearance of the first man and women are stereotypical and their action seem both robotic and without any natural volition.

This depiction raises number of issues that form an integral part of this often problematic film. The first is that God creates creatures that seem to have no inner life or curiosity about the world around them. Curiosity is in fact the very thing that is prohibited on pain of spiritual death. This in turn raises the question of why God created human beings in the first place. While this question refers to the incomprehensible mystery of creation there is also the suggestion that the director is making a subtle but defining point in the depiction of these two chanters. Is Huston trying to suggest that God as the omnipotent and all - knowing creator must have known about the flaws in his creation? Why would God create something that is potentially flawed in the first place? This leads to the intimation that is some sense Adam and Eve were intended to fail so that they could prove their love and devotion love for God in the world of pain and death. These are issues that relate to a vast area of theological discourse and are raised in a close reading of the film, but not answered.

In the light of these complex issues it is the characterization and the subtle clues that Huston provides that is most interesting in the first section of the film. Unlike Adam, as the comments in lecture notes suggest, Eve is interested in more than sex. She is curious about herself and is tempted by the serpent who promises knowledge. This is a crucial point of the film in that the facial expression and the way that Eve is enticed, shows the first glimmers of humanity and life in the characters. What is also enlightening is that Adam only makes a token resistance to eating the apple. An insightful comment from the lecture notes adds to the discussion at this point.."Huston appears to be saying that the human experience is cast in the image of the first woman, not the first man. It was Huston's woman who demonstrated a willingness to die for us, since, in the Garden, there was no death and no children." (Lecture Notes) However, the important aspect of this scene is that it is the start of the complex conflict and relationship between the God of the Old Testament and mankind, which the film attempts to explore.

This presentation of Adam and Eve of course is an interpretation of the biblical text and emphasizes certain aspects and attributes that the director wished to represent in terms of his view of what the text intends to say. In this sense any film version of the Biblical text will of necessity have inner biases and predilections.

However, as was noted at the beginning go this section, Huston's interpretation of the biblical text is to a great extent influenced by his own ideology and perception. The refers to the idea of a jealous and very humanized God who makes mistakes and errors.

The complexity and the underlying biases in Huston's view can also be seen in his depiction of the serpent in the tree. It is, I would suggest, significant that he humanizes the serpent to a certain extent by giving it a human face. The snake is therefore both human and something else and this suggests that it is both good and evil. The snake figure also intimates that the origins of evil are at least partly human. This creates some confusion as to the actual origins of evil.

While Eve's approach to the snake in tree is extremely cautious and fearful, yet the director also emphasizes the desire that she shows to find out more. At the same time even though she in mortal danger her eyes are radiant with intention and curiosity. The director focuses on this tension between desire and fear in one frame that is held for some time; where we see Eve's face and the golden apple at the same moment. The apple looms over the expectant face of Eve and seems to dominate her. The snake appears to have no other intention except to corrupt the innocent Eve. Its voice is clear and intriguing and it argument impelling and dramatic. The consequences and Eve's actions and Adam's compliance are inevitable and they are abruptly and without any mercy dismissed to the world of pain and death.

Their sons Cain and Abel are born in the barren wilderness that is well portrayed in the harsh wilderness in the film. Cain is the tiller of the soil, while Abel tends the flock of sheep. Cain is portrayed as the more taciturn and dissatisfied of the two brothers. The theme of jealousy emerges strongly in this section of the film and Cain kills his brother in a fit of rage when his offering is not accepted by God. The lecture comments on this incident reflect the possibility that Cain had cause to be angry and jealous in that his work would have been more arduous than that of Abel. This will be explored more fully in the next section.

The central aspect that should be emphasized in this section is that the Biblical text is interpreted by Huston to express a certain underlying view of the God of the Old Testament. One of the aspects discussed in the lecture commentary is the way the director turns to the Bible as a test of his artistic maturity, in much the same way that other great artists have expressed their deepest views through Biblical themes.

What can be said with certainty is that in the film the Bible, Huston is confronting problematic and complex theological and philosophical issues; for example, the question of why God gives the first humans choices and at the same time makes the fruit so attractive to them, while stipulating that they may not eat of it.

Does this question refers to the view that Huston expressed about the jealous God - the God that tests and continually place the human being in position of choice so that he or she can show their devotion and obedience to the One God. I would suggest that it is this view and perception that informs Huston's interpretation of the Bible and is the underlying trajectory of the way that he directs and develops… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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