The Chosen

The Chosen” is a television-like series of shows on the internet that tells the story of Jesus.   I like it, because it fleshes out the characters and brings them to life.  I see this series as an example of what I call good historical fiction.  Good historical fiction tells a story in a historical setting and keeps the historical details correct while adding fictional details to create the story.  Most historical fiction is mostly fiction using history as the backdrop for the story, but some historical fiction is about telling the historical story by fleshing out the history with added details.  I think “The Chosen” does a good job of keeping the facts straight while fleshing out the story with fictional details.

An example of bad historical fiction is the “The Da Vinci Code”.  There is even a separate Wikipedia page showing all that is wrong with the “The Da Vinci Code”.   Dan Brown rewrote history to tell his story, and to make matters worse he claims it all to be true at the start of his book on the “Fact” page.

So one needs to be careful reading or watching historical fiction to keep in mind what are the facts and what are the added fictional details.  Moses most likely does not look like Charlton Heston, and Jesus most likely did not look like the blue eyed blonde Jesus that the Northern European painters portrayed.  A good historical drama follows the facts and tries to have the fictional details be plausible. The added fictional details need to fit in with the known facts.  Oftentimes good historical fiction will bring out the implications of the facts known in the story.  This means there is a lot of research that goes into creating good historical fiction.  Good historical fiction illuminates the story with historical facts from a variety of sources.  I think “The Chosen” does a good job of this.  It does not mean they have it all right but they do present a reasonable possibility. 

Let us look at a bit of an episode from “The Chosen” and compare it with the account in the Bible.  Looking at Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:1-21 and the corresponding part from “The Chosen” series, you notice that what John had recorded is only about a 2 minute conversation, whereas “The Chosen” expands it to a 10 minute conversation (and that with the last 3 verses not being included).  And my guess is that the actual conversation was even longer.   “The Chosen” creates a fictional backstory that brought Nicodemus to Jesus.  There is also conversation that included why Nicodemus came at night and an invitation from Jesus for Nicodemus to follow him. All this is added detail that may have happened but maybe not. It is a reasonable possibility.  I like the end of the conversation where Nicodemus, being hesitant to commit to following Jesus, kneels before Jesus, kisses his hand, and  quotes the first part of Psalm 2:12, and Jesus then gives Nicodemus a word of grace and encouragement by quoting the last part of the verse.  That too was an added detail along with the added details that include things like the scene taking place outside on a rooftop.

I like “The Chosen” and I would recommend it.  I think it follows the accounts of Jesus well.  It has sparked my imagination of what it was like back then and who the disciples were.  It paints a good picture of Jesus and the disciples. However, it is not the Bible and is not a replacement for the Bible, but I do consider that they have been faithful to the text of the Bible in the episodes I have seen. It is a worthy depiction of the Gospel story of Jesus.  So again I recommend that you watch “The Chosen”.  Seasons 1-3 are available now for viewing.

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