1. Dawn Shipman says:

    Wonderful article. I love “The Chosen” but had not considered these aspects. Thanks so much!

    • Jenneth Dyck says:

      Thank you! It was a pleasure to dive into this side of things. I rarely considered the Jewishness and ethnical realities of the gospels before The Chosen, partially because the extent of our biblical fiction and dramas were either westernized, or simply too limited in their medium to properly explore. The Chosen completely redefined my perspective. I’m so glad you enjoyed the read!

  2. Gretchen says:

    Excellent article!!
    I’ve started watching The Chosen while I’m at the gym. It forces me to not half-watch the show in a binge.
    It’s served it’s two primary purposes. Entertainment that is as pure as possible for a human-made project.
    It challenges me to go to scripture and really study Jesus and His ministry.
    I’m on season 1. My two hot takes.
    I love Matthew and having him on the spectrum is a solid decision. However, the dialogue on “how different” he is seems slightly heavy-handed at times. I suspect it’s because most of the people I know on the spectrum who are similar to Matthew seem pretty “normal” to me vs. “different.”
    2. I work with 5-6 graders at church and we studied John 3 earlier this year. Nicodemus is my favorite character on the show for his story arc, and someone I’ve enjoyed learning more about in scripture. I relate to him!

    • Jenneth Dyck says:

      I love that it drives us back to the Bible. More than once I assumed a scene was creative license, until I discovered it later in the gospels. You’re in for a real treat—the seasons only improve as you go!
      I will say that the “you’re a bit off” talk toward Matthew is rather self-contained in season one. I assume it was partially for our benefit (for those who might not immediately catch that he’s neurodivergent), but also an accurate response from people, who at the time, wouldn’t have known what autism is. That’s my personal guess.
      Nicodemus is phenomenal. Erick Avari is top-shelf content, and the deeply-personal struggle he has through all of season one is just excellent. 10/10.

  3. Perichoresis says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful, insightful review.

    I’d like to respectfully offer another interpretation as to why The Chosen hasn’t set off any “woke” alarms among white evangelical Christians. Progressive-tending thought across the past hundred years has shaped American consciousness enough to make something like The Chosen tolerable to even the most conservative white American Christians (with the very careful caveats listed in the article above, of course). Here’s a comparison: Just 70 years ago, most American Christians considered racial intermarriage and social integration an unbiblical abomination—“Race Mixing is Communism,” they cried. But now it is normalized. What changed? Did American Christians just wake up one day enlightened, realizing they were wrong? No. The larger culture around them exerted enough pressure, across enough time, and dragged them, kicking and screaming, in a more inclusive direction. I think a similar sort of progressive normalization has happened with the reception of The Chose. I have no doubt that if The Chosen had come out just 30 years ago, white evangelical circles, instead of devouring it the way they are now, would have accused it of being leftist deep-state propaganda….

    That said, I do appreciate the way the above reviewer asks us to be sensitive to the sort of cheap tricks Hollywood uses; as a Christian of color, I share that sensitivity with you and want that, if we are going to be inclusive, we be deeply and authentically so.

    • Pete Mayes says:

      Perichoresis, I absolutely agree with your comments. Honestly, while I appreciated the author’s insightful take, I believe she cheapened its impact by delving into the whole “Woke” conversation. Frankly, it wasn’t necessary. To me, “The Chosen” works because it gives us all an insight into Jesus and the disciples’ every day lives and shortcomings without being preachy. I love the fact that Jesus can be snarky with some of the things he says. Matthew being presented as being in the spectrum reveals a layer that many of us hadn’t thought of before. And Simon Peter betrayal of the merchants adds another dimension to who he was and who he became. This didn’t need a “woke” narrative or framework to be introduced into it, because frankly it wasn’t there to begin with.

  4. David W. Landrum says:

    I loved the scene after the wedding where Jesus turned water into wine. He and his disciples are going home and some of them are stumbling. Some of them had a little too much to drink. Yep, some of them were drunk! But if the best wine the steward there had ever tasted had been served, that might well have been true. I love the realism, the recognition of his followers as human, and the authenticity of the production. These were real people. We’ve made them into allegorical characters and comic book figures. The Chosen has depicted them as human beings.

What say you?