Monday, May 24, 2010

"Lost" and the Bible

Some of you may scoff and say this just about covers reactions to my lectures on Hebrew Poetry, but far be it from me to shy away from taking a reference from popular culture (something I see as positive by the way, as my colleagues on the exec of the IBA know all too well!) and you can’t get more popular these days than the Lost finale that was screened this morning at 5am GMT on Sky 1.

Now I’ve a confession before I start-I watched the first series of Lost and dipped in and out for the remaining five, but I am a woman of not much patience and I like to see logic in my TV viewing so I wasn’t able to keep up for the full 121 episodes. However there has been a steady stream of comment on the programme and the biblical allusions, quotations, motifs etc that we can read into it so I’ve put some links up for you to explore and make up your own minds…

E! online has a great blog on the finale which has a good examination of the religious element in the narrative (or parallel narratives), a rather well though out post from Neil Shyminsky on a Ben/Jacob link as well as "BigMouths" great overview.
Check out the Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay and the Facebook site. Chris says:
"All the evidence in 'Lost' is pointing to existence of a truly good higher power, and in turn, to the existence of evil"
Though the show does quote a wide range of philosophers and has made references to various religious terms, like the dharma of the Hindu and Buddhist faiths, there are lots of commentators like Seay who point to the references to the Hebrew Bible.
As a proper obsessive about naming, the character names struck me. There's Jacob, who is the biblical father of the 12 tribes of Israel. And then there is a baby named Aaron, the name of Moses' brother.

Chris states that the story of Lost echoes the Book of Exodus, where the Israelites are brought out of slavery into the Promised Land. While the Jews were literally enslaved, Chris says, the characters of Lost instead bear the brunt of emotional burdens.

Each character has a burden to bear throughout the six series. From a murderer to an alcoholic to a former Iraqi solder who used torture tactics, the characters all have “baggage”. This Chris says, is something that viewers can relate with.

"Deep down, we all know we're not as perfect as we should be," Chris said. That is our personal "land of slavery."
Walt Belcher (Rocking name) of the Miami Herald has a great article which features Seay. Rick Bentley has an article on the more spiritual aspects to the series and a good list of references to the Bible that appear in the show (though some are more religous than biblical) and my first ever link to something associated with wikipedia, the Lostpedia has a mind boggling array of biblical references which include the two major biblical quotations in the series:
  • Eko recites Psalm 23 in the episode "The 23rd Psalm" and begins to recite it in "The Cost of Living" immediately before the "Monster" kills him.
  • In the Ajira Airways website, the source code includes the verse John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

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