The Bible onscreen in the new millennium

New heart and new spirit

Edited by Wickham Clayton

The Bible onscreen in the new millennium


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3657-2
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2020
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Film history, theory & criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film / Genres / General, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, Biblical Exegesis & Hermeneutics, The arts / Film: styles & genres, The arts / Film theory & criticism, Religion
  • Series: Manchester University Press


The remarkable commercial success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ in 2004 came as a surprise to the Hollywood establishment, particularly considering the film's failure to find production funding through a major studio. Since then the Biblical epic, long thought dead in terms of mainstream marketability, has become a viable product. This collection examines the new wave of the genre, which includes such varied examples as Darren Aronofsky's Noah (2014) and Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), along with the telenovelas of Latin America. Such texts follow previous traditions while appearing distinct both stylistically and thematically from the Biblical epic in its prime, making academic consideration timely and relevant. Featuring contributions from such scholars as Mikel J. Koven, Andrew B. R. Elliott and Martin Stollery, and a preface from Adele Reinhartz, the book will be of interest to students and scholars of film, television and religion.


Introduction - Wickham Clayton
Part I: Producing biblical film and television
1 Battles over the biblical epic: Hollywood, Christians and the American Culture Wars - Karen Patricia Heath
2 Depicting 'biblical' narratives: a test case on Noah - Peter Phillips
3 Special effects and CGI in the biblical epic film - Andrew B. R. Elliott
4 The phenomenon of biblical telenovelas in Brazil and Latin America - Clarice Greco, Mariana Marques de Lima and Tissiana Nogueira Pereira

Part II: Modern narratives and contexts in adapting the Bible
5 Mythic cinema and the contemporary biblical epic - Mikel J. Koven
6 The Nativity reborn: genre and the birth and childhood of Jesus - Matthew Page
7 Convince me: conversion narratives in the modern biblical epic - Chris Davies

Part III: Critical readings and receptions
8 Controversy and the 'Culture War': exploring tensions between the secular and the sacred in Noah, the 'least biblical biblical movie ever' - Becky Bartlett
9 'Can anything good come out of Southern California?'* (*hyperlink to John 1:46): the Christian critical reception of elliptical Jesus narratives - Wickham Clayton
10 Examining the digital religion paradigm: a mixed-method analysis of online community perception of epic biblical movies - Gregory P. Perreault and Thomas S. Mueller

Part IV: Culture and representation
11 The devil and the Culture Wars: demonising controversy in The Last Temptation of Christ and The Passion of the Christ - Karra Shimabukuro
12 Ben-Her(?): soft stardom, melodrama and the critique of epic masculinity in Ben-Hur (2016) - Thomas J. West III
13 The biblical-trial film: social contexts in L'Inchiesta and Risen - Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns and Emiliano Aguilar
14 'Squint against the grandeur': iconoclasm and film genre in The Passion of the Christ and Hail, Caesar! - Martin Stollery



Wickham Clayton is Lecturer in Film Production at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

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