In the beginning ...
This could well be called Creation Weekend on BBC Radio Ulster. In the Beginning, our dramatic serialisation of the book of Genesis begins this Sunday at 4.30 pm on Radio Ulster. We'll also be debating the moral and literary legacy of the book of Genesis on Sunday Sequence, just after the news at 9.00 a.m., with Baptist theologian Maurice Dowling, the academic Leon Litvack, who's also our regular guide to Jewish affairs, the Christian feminist writer Christina Reece, and Robert Stovold from the National Secular Society. How has the book of Genesis influenced the way we write and speak today? How have the values of this ancient book shaped our legal systems and moral codes? And can the book of Genesis be rescued from the claim that it is a manifesto for misogyny, racism, slavery, homophobia and genocide? Some complex questions to be explored this Sunday morning.
To complete a decidedly biblical weekend, I'll be making a visit to the Answers in Genesis conference at the Waterfriont Hall in Belfast to meet Ken Ham, the world's most famous Creationist.
Here's the official blurb for the launch of our serialisation of the book:
""In The Beginning" - three deceptively simple words, and perhaps the most famous opening to any book ever written. The book of Genesis has been read by more people, and translated into more languages than any other text in the history of writing." So states William Crawley who, in this unique new series for Radio Ulster, tempts us as surely as that infamous serpent once did, to tune in and try to get to grips with the meaning behind the stories and the people behind the names we think we know so well.
Over eight half hour episodes we learn of the creation of the earth and its creatures and of mankind itself. The fateful mistake in the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the building of Noah's Ark, the goings on in Sodom and Gomorrah, the plight of Babel, the test of faith placed upon Abraham. Isaac, Jacob, Methuselah and Joseph are all there.
This is not a dry regurgitation of the biblical stories and characters we think we know. Crucially William Crawley issues a warning - "What you are about to hear is extremely adult material. This is one of the most dangerous books ever written."
Stunning, specially composed music from Graeme Stewart provides a subtle, filmic soundtrack to the melliforous voice of Jim Norton who narrates Genesis - a voice which lends clarity and meaning to the archaic and poetic words of the King James' translation of the Bible. This may change how you hear the voice of God in your mind's ear forever ...
In The Beginning starts at 4.30pm on Sunday, 11th May on Radio Ulster. The producer is John Simpson.