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I am a big fan of the Lumo Project, which is seeking—for the first time—to film all four Gospels as feature films, using only the unabridged biblical text as their script.

Watching these films really brings out how Anglicized or Western are many of the Jesus movies are.

But how do you get a cast of actors who speak fluent, undistracting English and yet look like the part of Mediterranean Jews?

In December 2002 Popular Mechanics reported on scientists and archaeologists using forensic anthropology to reconstruct what a first-century Galilean Semite might have looked like, with the following result:

The way that the Lumo Project solved this issue was by having Selva Rasalingam play Jesus. Rasalingam, whose ethnicity is partly Tamil, looks more like the picture above than the typical Anglo-Jesus version.

Furthermore, the actors in the film speak Aramaic. But you can’t really hear their dialogue clearly. Rather, you hear the voice of the narrator, British actor David Harewood. Harewood is essentially reading the Gospel of John word-for-word (you can choose whether to hear it as NIV, KJV, or in the Spanish Reina-Valera translation) as the actors depict the scenes.

One exciting aspect of this approach is that the film can be translated with relative ease into multiple languages, since it only requires one voice-over narrator to read the biblical text. The film is currently available in the following languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • Korean
  • Italian
  • Brazilian-Portuguese
  • German
  • Turkish
  • Swahili
  • French
  • Mandarin
  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • Dutch
  • Polish
  • Afrikaans
  • Thai


The film is shot on location in Morocco, and the cinematography is at times beautiful. There is also an appropriate use of CGI to reconstruct the city of Jerusalem from a difference.

The first release was the The Gospel of John (2015):

Now, The Gospel of Mark (2017) is available for rent or purchase. Here is a scene:

Here are some other videos on how the films were made, narrated,  and constructed:

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4 thoughts on “The Amazing Lumo Project: Filming All Four Gospels as Feature Films, Using Only the Unabridged Bible as the Script”

  1. Dan Phillips says:

    Ah, the Mel Gibson mistake again. Sad, all that trouble, only to fumble the language.

    The Gospels are in Greek, with a few Aramaic words. If we’re going to be authentic, do it in Greek.

    Simply put, everything else is a translation. So if you’re going to do a translation, just do English.

    Otherwise, Greek.

  2. E.M. HIcham says:

    Please could you tell me where I could get the French and Araboic version of these DVDs?

  3. John says:

    These look great! But I watched one of the documentaries and they said the main actor actually *made up* a language rather than speaking a real one. Yet, several sites say they’re speaking Aramaic. Did they switch it up at some point, or are the other sites wrong about the language? Either way, I’m looking forward to watching these films.

  4. Andy says:

    Hey Justin,

    What are your thoughts about visual presentations of Jesus and J.I. Packer’s view of “making no images” of God? Is it appropriate to paint pictures and hire actors to portray Jesus since he became also a man? This is something I think about, even when reading illustrated Bible stories to my kids. Thanks.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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