What Would Buffy Do: The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide

Overview

What Would Buffy Do? explores the fascinating spiritual, religious, and mythological ideas of television's hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer--from apocalypse and sacrifice to self-reliance, redemption, and the need for humor when fighting our spiritual battles.
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Overview

What Would Buffy Do? explores the fascinating spiritual, religious, and mythological ideas of television's hit series Buffy the Vampire Slayer--from apocalypse and sacrifice to self-reliance, redemption, and the need for humor when fighting our spiritual battles.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…an excellent book for anyone who has enjoyed the TV series…an excellent source…to spark ethical issue debates” (Eis Webzine)

A bubbly blonde sporting black leather and whomping vampires hardly seems a spiritual paragon, but the title character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the occult classic that aired from 1997 to 2003, is just that, argues Riess, PW's religion book review editor and a dedicated Slayer fan. Although the show is ambivalent about God's existence and ostensibly secular, it "offers a deep spiritual core that is based in ethical behavior." A "spiritually eclectic" canon on forgiveness, compassion, love, self-sacrifice and redemption guide the slayer and her friends in their battles with evil (supernatural, internal or otherwise), says Riess. Playing off the Christian youth mantra "What would Jesus do?" (which the show also pokes fun at in an episode where Xander tells Buffy, "When it's dark and I'm all alone, and I'm scared or freaked out or whatever, I always think, 'What would Buffy do?'"), Riess dissects the show's moral message according to three themes: personal spirituality, companions (friends and family) and saving the world. Sidebar quotes from prophets, philosophers and poets echo each chapter's spiritual lesson. On self-sacrifice, for example, Riess includes St. Francis's prayer for peace, and on embracing change, she refers to the Qur'an's message about change coming from within a person. This analysis, like the show, never gets mired down in too much seriousness and will add a new dimension to how both fans and critics view the popular series. (May) (Publishers Weekly, March 15, 2004)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787969226
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/30/2004
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

After saving the world as a Brownie, Jana Riess went on to earn a master of  divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in religion from Columbia University. She is the religion book review editor at Publishers Weekly. Her favorite character is Giles. Or maybe Spike. Or actually, it’s Buffy. Yeah, definitely Buffy.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2007

    What Would Buffy Do?: A Valid Query

    Perhaps more interesting than any other book about faith I've ever read and every bit as important. I always saw the emotional/spiritual/philosophical elements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but had trouble expressing those to friends who laughed at my interest in the series. This book not only presents a clear argument that counters those Christians who believe the show to be evil, but also serves to bridge the gap between fans of the show and those who will not watch a show whose premise they believe is solely fighting monsters. Much more wisdom and showing of faith can be found in the dark town of Sunnydale... buy this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2004

    A Must-Read for Buffy Fans

    This book covered almost all of the spiritual aspects on BtVS. For those of us who already recognized these themes, this book summed it up, and if you haven't realized the deeper metaphors on the show, read this book! It is totally accurate in its quotes and interpretations. Fans won't be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2004

    VERY interesting!

    ***** Although Buffy Summers has taken an almost equal amount of flack as Harry Potter from the most conservative Christians, others have picked up on the ironically religious truths to be found in both her series and the spin off, Angel. Among those enlightened beings is Jana Riess, and she has shared her findings in this snappy, easy to read book. Divided into logical sections that expand outward from the individual, to community, to world, the author uses Buffy to make spiritual truths clear. Many of the lessons could be applied to other fictional settings, such as Tolkien, yet, Buffy has an edge that might not be found in other works. This book will appeal to all ages, and perhaps serve as a bridge. The slant is mostly Christian, but the Christianity is not presented in a way that looks down on other faiths. For those Bible students who look for 'aha' moments in their studies, 'What would Buffy Do?' has many. If a Youth leader is looking for a new tool to interest a bored Sunday School class, they would not be making a mistake in picking up a baker's dozen of this book. *****

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2008

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