Theology Goes to the Movies: An Introduction to Critical Christian Thinking / Edition 1

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Theology Goes to the Movies is an introduction to understanding theology through film. Clive Marsh, an experienced teacher in the field, uses a range of contemporary films including Touching the Void, Bruce Almighty, Notting Hill, 21 Grams, Legally Blonde and The Piano to explain key theological concepts such as ideas of God, the Church, eschatology, redemption, humanity and spirit. Starting from the premise that film-watching is a religion-like activity, the book explores the ways in which films require the viewer to engage at many levels (cognitive, affective, aesthetic and ethical) and argues that the social practice of cinema-going has a religious dimension. This stimulating and entertaining book shows how theology through film can be a method of reading the dialogue between film and Western culture, as well as a relevant and contemporary practical theology.

About the Author:
Clive Marsh teaches in the Department of Theology at the University of Nottingham and is also Secretary of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'By starting from issues explored in particular films, the book helps to ground theological debates in relation to human questions and experience. This really helps to bring the discipline of theology alive, and I wish this book had been available when I was a theology student.' – Gordon Lynch, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Culture, University of Birmingham, UK

'Marsh is correct! Theology is not just cognitive, but affective, aesthetic and ethical. And film has become a primary resource. Here is a helpful work-book for culturally-savy theology students and theologically-interested film-lovers.' Robert K. Johnston, author of Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415380119
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/28/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Clive Marsh teaches in the Department of Theology at the University of Nottingham and is also Secretary of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church. He is a well-respected writer and teacher, and his previous books include Cinema and Sentiment: Film’s Challenge to Theology, Paternoster Press 2004 , and Explorations in Theology and Meaning, Blackwell 1997.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     ix
Introduction     1
How to use this book     5
Contextualizing theology in a media age     9
Theology in a chaotic climate     11
What is 'theology'?     11
The chaotic Western climate     14
Four features of contemporary Western cultural life     15
Theology's critical task     19
Doing theology in a media age     21
The challenge of media culture     21
Some consequences for theology as a discipline     24
Types of theology     27
Theology and the Christian religion     32
Theology as a church activity     32
Four aspects of religion     34
Theology as a communal, human practice     39
A systematic theology through film     41
Introduction     43
God     47
Films     49
Bruce Almighty     49
The Passion of the Christ     49
The Truman Show     50
Viewing experiences     50
Connecting questions and issues     53
Explorations: images and traditions; power and freedom     53
Working conclusions     57
For further study     58
Human being     60
Films     60
Koyaanisqatsi     60
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind     61
Do the Right Thing     61
Notting Hill     62
Viewing experiences     63
Connecting questions and issues     66
Explorations: gift and gratitude; individual and social sin; memory and identity; love and Trinity     67
Working conclusions     76
For further study     77
Spirit     79
Films     80
Amadeus     80
Touching the Void     80
Legally Blonde     81
Viewing experiences     81
Connecting questions and issues     83
Explorations: gifts and skills; re-creation; God's presence in the world     85
Working conclusions     90
For further study     91
Redemption     93
Films     95
Crimes and Misdemeanors     95
21 Grams     96
The Last Temptation of Christ     96
Cries and Whispers     97
Viewing experiences     98
Connecting questions and issues      102
Explorations: evil; guilt; joy; participation in Christ     103
Working conclusions     105
For further study     107
Sacraments     109
Films     110
The Piano     110
Babette's Feast     110
Don't Look Now     111
Viewing experiences     112
Connecting questions and issues     114
Explorations: sacramentality; baptism; Holy Communion     115
Working conclusions     122
For further study     122
Church     124
Films     125
Eat Drink Man Woman     125
Brassed Off     126
The Magdalene Sisters     126
Viewing experiences     127
Connecting questions and issues     130
Explorations: unity; holiness; catholicity; apostolicity; church as 'base group'     131
Working conclusions     138
For further study     139
The end     141
Films     141
Truly Madly Deeply     141
Jesus of Montreal     142
Field of Dreams     142
Viewing experiences     143
Connecting questions and issues      145
Explorations: after-life; judgment; Kingdom of God; vision     147
Working conclusions     154
For further study     155
A Christological postscript     157
Christian theology in practice     159
Theology and life     161
But life's not like that!     161
The systematic character of Christian theology     163
'Theology through film' as 'theology of/from/through culture'     166
Theology through film as practical theology     168
Theology and God     170
Why 'God' matters     170
Realism and non-realism     171
A spectrum of theism     174
And finally...     176
Notes     177
Index     189
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