The Story of Moses Biblically Accurate?


Summary

  • Testament: The Story of Moses is a docudrama exploring Moses’ redemption arc, blending reenactments with expert testimony.
  • The series largely adheres to the Bible’s version of events, but questions remain about its overall accuracy.
  • With a focus on Moses’ inner life, the docudrama aims to tell a more personal tale of the famous biblical figure.



New to Netflix on March 27, 2024, Testament: The Story of Moses is a three-part Turkish docudrama produced by Karga7 Productions. The docuseries charts Moses’ epic redemption arc, evolving from a banished outcast and perceived killer to a princely prophet leading his followers to salvation. To tell its unique narrative, the docudrama blends dramatic reenactments with expert testimony from Biblical scholars and historians, with English actor Charles Dance narrating and Israeli actor Avi Azulay portraying Moses.

Although Testament: The Story of Moses uses Moses’ Biblical story as an inspiration to explore his inner life, the dramatic reenactments have left some to wonder how Biblically accurate the series is from start to finish. While Biblical scholars and theologians have agreed that the story of Moses is not historically accurate, when it comes to sticking to the Bible’s version of events, the docuseries largely adheres to the religious text.



A Closer Look at Testament: The Story of Moses

Netflix

Testament: The Story of Moses is divided into three parts; “The Prophet,” “The Plagues,” and the “Promised Land.” In the Bible, the story of Moses comes from The Book of Exodus. According to the religious scholars in Biblical History in Israel’s Past, the events involving Moses depicted in the Book of Exodus are not historically accurate. They are, however, among the most famous and dramatically compelling Bible stories. As such, the producers of Testament: The Story of Moses have used the basic outline of Moses’ Biblical tale as a jumping-off point to tell a more intimate personal story of the pariah turned princely prophet.


According to the producers of the historical Netflix docuseries, Emre Sahin and Kelly McPherson, via Netflix:

“Anyone who has seen
The Ten Commandments
as a child was well aware of the more epic elements of the tale. “The burning bush, the plagues, Passover, the Red Sea, and, of course, the Ten Commandments. What really drew us in was the mystery of Moses’ inner life, his struggles with his own identity, his self-doubt, his humanness.”

While the most significant events in Moses’ biblical tale will be included in the docuseries as dramatic reenactments starring Azi Azulay, the story will also explore personal details that are either buried deep in the pages of the Bible or not included at all. The obscure or omitted aspects of Moses’ life will presumably be addressed by a panel of religious experts and professional theologians recruited to give talking-heads-style documentary interviews. While the experts have yet to be revealed, Mehmet Kurtulus will play the Egyptian Pharaoh and Tulay Gunal will play The Pharaoh’s daughter, Bithia.


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Netflix’s Controversial Track Record with Historical Docuseries

Moses holds stone tablets in Testament The Story of Moses
Netflix

Given Netflix’s controversial track record of making so-called historical docudramas, the trend may continue with Testament: The Story of Moses. Netflix notoriously courted controversy with the 2023 release of Queen Cleopatra, a historical docudrama so inaccurate that it currently boasts an abysmal 1.2 IMDb rating. Netflix also released Alexander: The Making of a God in 2024, another historically inaccurate chronicle of Alexander the Great’s rise to power. Both series were criticized for playing fast and loose with historical facts and have harmed Netflix’s credibility as a result.


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Whether Testament: The Story of Moses will fudge facts as blatantly as Queen Cleopatra and Alexander: The Making of a God is yet to be seen. However, Sahin and McPherson declared similarities, stating:

“Similar to historical docudramas like
Queen Cleopatra

and
Alexander: The Making of a God, Testament
weaves expert interviews into gripping storytelling. Narrated by Charles Dance with actor Avi Azulay in the titular role,
Testament
documents Moses’ personal quest for redemption, setting in motion some of the biggest historical events in the Bible, Quran, and Torah.”


Karga7 Has a Much Better Track Record on Docudramas

Moses stands alone in Testament The Story of Moses
Netflix

Although Netflix has a fairly poor track record of releasing historically accurate docudramas, Karga7 Productions has fared better in the past. In 2020, Karga7 produced Rise of Empires: Ottoman, a riveting 12-part Turkish historical docudrama that drew immense praise for its balance of entertainment and education. Rise of the Empires was released as a Netflix Original series, yet for some reason, the acclaimed show was not mentioned in comparison to Testament in the quoted press release.


Instead, the producers likened Testament to Queen Cleopatra and Alexander: The Making of a God, projects not produced by Karga7. This makes one assume that Testament: The Story of Moses will blur fact and fiction like Queen Cleopatra and Alexander, rather than remain as accurate as Rise of Empires. However, it’s worth noting that Karga7 also produced Midnight at the Pera Palace in 2022, another Netflix Original hailed for its historical accuracy that currently boasts a 7.0 IMDb rating.

Netflix may not be well-trusted to tell a historical drama without Karga7, but when partnered with the Turkish production company, the results fare much better. Therefore, it’s fair to suggest that, despite the dramatic reenactments, Testament: The Story of Moses will make a good faith effort to stick to Moses’ biblical journey when the series launches on March 27, 2024. Moses’ story in the Book of Exodus may not be historically accurate, but Testament: The Story of Moses will cling to the liberator’s biblical story as authentically as possible.




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