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Help Make The Book of Tobit a Movie

Leslie Parsons
AUSTIN, TX, United States

Apr 27, 2020 — 

The Book of Tobit, named after its principal character, combines Jewish piety and morality with folklore in a fascinating story that has enjoyed wide popularity in both Jewish and Christian circles. Prayers, psalms, and words of wisdom, as well as the skillfully constructed story itself, provide valuable insights into the faith and the religious milieu of its unknown author. The book was probably written early in the second century B.C.; it is not known where.


Alan Nafzger’s a screenplay adaption of Tobit is the answer to bringing the story to the silver screen. The script is currently exactly the story outlined in The Bible but is set in Western Europe in the 1930s. Tobit lives and endured his trials in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Sarah endures her torment in London. Rahadel leads Tobiah cross the channel to find and marry Sarah. Sarah and Tobiah return to Holland to raise Tobit’s grandchildren. The film story is set in the years immediately before the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands. The drama what would culminate in the final minutes if the film will answer the question, “will the family become victims of the Holocaust.”  In history, 100,000 of the 140,000 Dutch Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

Tobit, a pious and prosperous Jew living in Amsterdam, suffers severe setbacks and is blinded. Because of the hardships Tobit begs God to let him die. But he recalls the large sum he had previously deposited in far-off London, he sends his son Tobiah there to bring back the money. In London, at this same time, a young woman, Sarah, a Jew living in London, also prays for death, because she has lost seven husbands, each killed in turn on their wedding night by the same demon from the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus. God hears the prayers of Tobit and Sarah and sends the angel Raphael in human form to intercede for them both.

Raphael makes the trip to London with Tobiah. As they travels across the English Channel, fishermen catch a large fish, Tobiah is attacked by it and Raphael instructs him to harvest it and to remove its gall, heart, and liver because they are useful for medicine. Later, at Raphael’s urging, Tobiah marries Sarah, and uses the fish’s heart and liver to drive Asmodeus from the bridal chamber; it’s just like in the Book of Tobit. Returning to Amsterdam with his wife and his father’s money, Tobiah rubs the fish’s gall into his father’s eyes and the medicine cures him. Finally, Raphael reveals his true identity and returns to heaven. Tobit then utters his beautiful hymn of praise. Before dying, Tobit tells his son to leave Amsterdam because God will destroy that wicked city, or in other words the Nazi army is on the way. After Tobiah buries his father and mother, he and his family depart for London, and just as he’s leaving Tobiah witnesses the Nazi invasion.

Studio executives can’t escape the box office potential of the Book of Tobit. There are over 900 million Catholics world-wide and over 230 million Orthodox Christians. Just as the inspired author of the Book of Tobit used the literary form of religious novel, astute filmmakers can make a movie of teaching and enlightenment. The historical setting can be used as a vivid detail that many people are familiar with and a modern retelling of the story it will not only create interest and charm, but also to illustrate the righteous are rewarded and the wicked are certainly punished in the end.

Although a movie adaptation of the Book of Tobit will probably be listed as a historical drama, it more correctly stands midway between history and wisdom cinema. It contains numerous maxims like those found in the Bible as well as standard wisdom themes: fidelity to the law, the intercessory role of angels, honoring parents, wholesomeness of marriage, respect for the dead, and the value of philanthropy, prayer, and religious fasting. This movie makes Tobit a relative of Ahiqar, a noted hero of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature and folklore. In the film, Ahiqar would be a city official in Amsterdam.

If you can kindly sign the petition to make Tobit into a film, and please share this page with your friend though social media, you will be doing a great favor. Thank you for your time!

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