Good Biblical Fiction, or fiction with biblical themes

Last year I read the book ‘The Secret Book of Kings’ by Yochi Brandes, a novel based on the Books of Samuel, which gives a different perspective to the story to that found in scripture. I agreed with Brandes on some areas, disagreed with her on others, but overall found the book thought provoking, if problematic to the sensibilities of some.

I was wondering if there is any good biblical fiction (or fiction with biblical themes) out there from a more orthodox point of view. Not just books, but also Movies, TV shows etc. And why is so much popular culture based on the Bible of such poor quality? I would like to see creators try something different, rather than writing generic biblical epics. The Book of Judges could work well as a dark comedy, which is both serious and funny at the same time.

If anyone was interested, I am currently writing my own biblical fiction, a prelude to the story of the flood in the form of a Sumerian style literary debate between drought and flood.

For some reason “Many Waters” by Madaleine L’Engle comes to mind, though I’m not sure time travel is all that orthodox. :wink:

I’d agree that a lot is poor quality – “Christian fiction” has the unfortunate reputation of focusing so much on the intended (and sometimes blunt) “message” that artistic value falls way down on the priorities list. I still enjoy the “Prince of Egypt” movie about Moses that’s probably 20 years old by now, especially for the music.

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I didn’t type the joke here. I deserve some kind of reward.


Oh yes! That burning bush scene…

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Hans Zimmer!!! That first number still gives me goosebumps.

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Just about all of Marilynn Robinson’s books would qualify. Home for its prodigal son themes, and Lila to complete the picture of showing God’s love.

Ooh yes. When I have to mention a favorite book, I always say Gilead

If anyone was interested:

Well done. It was a fun read.

I think you would enjoy Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner.

I think that phrase I put in italics is the whole problem right there. I don’t think this is well defined and thus comparing the many films to this imaginary standard spoils the whole thing for everyone. Frankly I think the number of films inspired by Biblical themes is enormous. Some types more than others to be sure. But what can you do? If you put in any of the elements of good film like humor, imagination, horror, and song then it’s not “orthodox” enough – good grief!

Some of the popular themes are like a genre of film all their own…

  1. Top of the list as far as numbers go are the apocalyptic horror films like Omen and many more.
  2. Jesus movies. These have been tried with both humor and song and even with utmost seriousness – all with great success. One of my favorites as a youth was Godspell.
  3. Possession and demon horror films like The Exorcist.
  4. Biblical History including ones about Adam&Eve, Noah, and Moses.
  5. Angel movies and tv shows. Of course they are all shown as way too human-like by my theological judgement but that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of them in the slightest.
  6. Films and shows where the focus is on priests, nuns and churches… or the ones where they come into the story in an important way.
  7. And then there are the films where God comes into the story directly. These are some of my favorites, like the Oh God moves or the tv show Joan of Arcadia.
  8. Rarest I think are those which attempt to show the afterlife like “What Dreams may come” with Robin Williams.

I forgot about that one – it’s so campy but awesome. The soundtrack is great and many of the words come right from the gospels.

“Doubt” was a good one.

I liked The Samurai by Shusaku Endo. He also wrote Silence, though I haven’t read that one (just saw the movie :wink: )

After seeing the movie, not sure I could take the book. A powerful and thought provoking story. Our pastor said he read Silence in seminary and many of his class found it a struggle.