Recent Releases: The Bible in Contemporary Cinema
Hallbäck, Geert and Annika Hvithamar, editors
Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2008 pp. vi + 176. $70.00
The Bible in the Modern World, 15
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Description: The relationship between theology and film has always been a complicated one. When film was invented at the end of the nineteenth century, it quickly gained its place in popular culture, far from the orthodoxies of the scholarly world and of the Church. For the better part of the twentieth century popular cinema was considered off limits for serious studies of Bible and culture. Recently, however, there has been a growing understanding of how the Bible is being used in popular culture—not as a historical document or as an authoritative canon, but as part of the cultural intertext.
Cinema is a vivid example of the role and impact of the Bible in contemporary society. In this well-theorized collection of essays the issue is treated from several angles. Using the methodology of theology, the question of the alleged escapism of popular cinema is explored. Using the methodology of media studies, the impact of the media on religious communication is analysed. And, using the methodology of religious studies, the influence of the cinema in the creation of new religions, religious behaviour and religious institutions is investigated. In addition, the book offers fruitful analyses of the cinematic use of biblical themes such as Eden, salvation, Mary Magdalene and Jesus—as well as of the cinematic application of ethical themes such as truth-telling, personal growth, suffering, the accomplishment of good and the creating of meaning for human beings.
Subjects: Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation
Review by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona
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Citation: Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, review of Geert Hallbäck and Annika Hvithamar, eds., Recent Releases: The Bible in Contemporary Cinema, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).
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