The Bible – A History Review: Jesus!

February 21, 2010 by  
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THE BIBLE – A HISTORY: Sunday 21st February, Channel 4, 6.55pm ALERT ME

Gerry Adams is on a mission. The notorious leader of Sinn Fein has turned his back on the violence and is now on the hunt for Jesus.

He’s always known him, of course. “For as long as I’ve had a memory, Jesus has been in there.? Now he wants to explore Christ’s message of forgiveness and how this relates to his own life. Adams is undoubtedly controversial, but does he make good TV?

The gruff Irishman is uncharismatic to say the least and spends most of the documentary in the dark, characterised by evasive answers about his own beliefs and endless contemplative night walks through the countryside.

His search for Jesus begins in Israel as he treks to some famous landmarks. He swiftly goes to where Christ was crucified and his gilded resting place. This evidently wasn’t enough for Adams, who is keen to see a recently excavated tomb. Trying it out for size a la JC, one wonders if this is a metaphor surrounding the IRA’s sacrifice for a better Ireland. Or maybe he’s just a bit of a fruit loop.

He then talks to Jesus expert Helen Bond, although she’s not even sure where he was born (Nazereth surely?) Aside from the odd plot hole, she knows her stuff and wastes no time retelling stories like they’re, well, going out of fashion.

This is all well and good but what does Gerry Adams make of it all? Jesus’ teachings are “deeply personal concepts for me,? he says. “Especially his principal message of forgiveness”.

Saying this, he doesn’t forgive people in powerful political positions and doesn’t regret the use of arms in self-defence. He admits, ‘Love thy enemies’ and ‘Pray for those who persecute you’ are tough words to live up to in some situations.

We’re never explicitly informed of how Jesus has touched Adams’ life. “Let’s not get carried away with this, religious beliefs are private!? he defends when asked in what way did he follow Christ when defending the IRA.

If he was being interrogated down his local ASDA then fair enough, but to remain so guarded in a supposedly revealing documentary on that very subject is suspicious if not hypocritical.

His meeting with Alan McBride, whose wife was accidently murdered by the IRA, is unrevealing on Adams’ part. In fact, neither party is forgiving or remorseful with the only insight coming from McBride, “I think we need to be more like Jesus, but less religious” – a very interesting concept indeed.

“I am perfectly at peace, Dan!? Adams says defensively to a probing journalist. Whether viewers can forgive him for withholding the truth is, according to this documentary, a necessity. If not, you’ll have to take it up with Jesus…