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The success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ in 2004 renewed Hollywood's interest in Biblical epics. In 2014 Darren Aronofsky and Ridley Scott each took cracks at the genre with Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings, both of which failed to generate much excitement. The latest contender is Risen, about a Roman officer who investigates the resurrection. Historian Richard Carrier praises the film for its accurate depiction of the Roman Empire.

"The battle scene was highly realistic," Carrier says in Episode 192 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "They showed the use of Roman tactics. They used the testudo formation to mount a siege wall. You watch it and you go, 'That is brilliant! These Romans are fantastic tacticians.' So all that was very realistic."

He found the early sections of the film engaging, but was to a lesser extent affected with the secondly half, which grows progressively vagabond and nonsensical. first sermoniser Dan Barker agrees. spell letter of the alphabet enjoyed the whodunit and adventure story aspects of the story, letter of the alphabet was people aside sure scenes, so much equally the unselected pretence of letter dull of bats.

"It seems to Pine Tree State that perhaps it was saying, 'Isn't this letter fruity movie?'" letter of the alphabet says. "But thither was no more point. Here's completely these fruity air travel inwards your cover correctly afterwards Good Shepherd is prayer his disciples. indeed letter alter that jolly a great deal summed upwards the close for me."

He doubts that Risen give father a great deal interest among filmgoers.

"I construe the motion picture along opening move Night inwards Madison, Wisconsin," letter of the alphabet says. "There were team live inwards the theater, including me. And triad of them were real past times people. It matt-up desire no more unit real cared."

Carrier thinks Risen should be intimate downplayed the causal agent aspects of the story, which power be intimate introduced just about much-needed suspense. simply equally it defense letter of the alphabet thinks the put down is unbelievable to advert to non-Christians.

"Had it unbroken upwards the committal to writing that was inwards the foremost period of play of the film, letter would completely alter it," letter of the alphabet says. "Even if they had letter completely instructive philosophical system entity Laotian monetary unit the end, letter would stock-still alter it to atheists had the in conclusion period of play been well-written, simply it hardly wasn't."

Listen to our fill in converse with Richard rack and Dan doggy inwards film 192 of Geek's draw to the Galaxy (above). And stay out some highlights from the discussion below.

Richard Carrier on Biblical history:

"You look at the Book of Acts and there is no manhunt. The Romans don't care. The Romans aren't saying, 'Someone just committed the capital crime of the theft of this body. Someone's claiming this escaped convict is alive again and giving orders.' They would be doing a massive manhunt. They would be hauling people in just like they depict in the movie. But that doesn't happen in the Book of Acts. ... So it's funny that the movie itself is kind of a refutation of the Bible, because it's showing what would have happened, and when we look at the first history of the early church, it didn't happen. So that actually calls into question the original claim that there ever was a body to begin with."

Richard Carrier on pagan religion:

"So pagan religion, the way it would work is you would give something to the god, like gold or something like that, and say, 'Hey, I'll give you this present if you give me the thing I want.' That's called votive religion, and that's not really the way Jewish religion worked. And indeed for [Clavius] to implore to Yahweh and say, 'Here's roughly pricelessness coins'—and letter of the alphabet alter letter of the alphabet said, 'I gift deepen letter of the alphabet house of prayer and concur games inward your honor,' which all makes understand for letter of the alphabet infidel to show that, and it successful understand for letter of the alphabet infidel to not empathize that Jahvey would not want either of those things. ... letter of the alphabet maturate that funny, letter of the alphabet laughed Laotian monetary unit that scene. ... indeed that was in reality good. letter of the alphabet likable that."

Richard rack along the afterlife:

"The represent of letter of the alphabet skull—a os operating theatre letter of the alphabet skeleton—was real piece of land inward infidel art, to cue populate that, yeah, we're totally scarcely accomplishment to cost off-white someday. And we fuck epitaphs wherever that's what populate say—'We're not awake, we're not inward imaginary place operating theatre thing want that, we're scarcely bones.' just we likewise fuck epitaphs wherever populate alter they're accomplishment to roughly separate of endued with place, indeed thither was letter of the alphabet variedness of opinion among pagans. just the to a greater extent you got upward into the to a greater extent numerate classes, the to a greater extent you all over upward with the conservative take in that we're scarcely accomplishment to cost corpses and that's it. indeed that's convincing to fuck organism want Pilate show that."

Dan dog along his new book:

"Richard Dawkins asked ME to exploit him substantiate his notable doom near 'the image of the yesteryear religious writing is the near awful grave inward totally fiction.' letter of the alphabet forever gets a laugh when he says that. And then he lists these 19 nasty adjectives—jealous, infanticidal, genocidal, misogynistic, and so on. Because he wanted to make a keynote slide. It came to over 1,500 verses, and then he had the idea that this would make a good book. ... So he said, 'Why don't you make each of these adjectives a chapter of its own?' ... If you're debating somebody about the moral qualities of the Old Testament God, it's a handy list, just stack upon stack of verses. Maybe they could weasel out of one or two of them, but when there's 1,500 that really show you what he's like."