• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as current film releases with spiritual significance, and a few bits and pieces on the Bible.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Forthcoming Book - Jesus, the Gospels, and Cinematic Imagination

    This is a fairly advanced warning, but I imagine it will interest many of those who have ever found themselves flicking through a Jesus film trying to find the right scene. Richard Walsh ("Reading the Gospels in the Dark") and Jeffrey L. Staley have a new book due out in September 2007 that will make that task a whole lot easier.

    "Jesus, the Gospels, and Cinematic Imagination: A Handbook to Jesus on DVD", summarises eighteen Jesus films available on DVD along with chapter listing, details of extras, a look at the film's genre and socio-political setting, descriptions of the main characters and information on the director. The book concludes with "a harmony of film parallels that lists by hour, minute, and second where each gospel scene can be found on the DVDs".

    A number of parts of the book are available already, with links from Jeffrey L. Staley's home pages to the contents, preface and study questions. The eighteen books to be covered in depth are:
    The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ
    From the Manger to the Cross
    Intolerance
    The King of Kings
    King of Kings
    The Gospel According to Saint Matthew
    The Greatest Story Ever Told
    Jesus Christ Superstar
    Godspell
    Jesus of Nazareth
    The Jesus Film
    Monty Python’s Life of Brian
    The Last Temptation of Christ
    Jesus of Montreal
    Jesus
    The Miracle Maker
    The Gospel of John
    The Passion of the Christ
    The authors raise a couple of interesting points in the preface, firstly they explain the problems of using Jesus films in the classroom:
    Jesus films, however, are quite difficult to use in the classroom (and in research) because no easy tool exists for cross-referencing them with the gospels... Generally, we, like other professors, have had to watch entire films in order to find the perfect clip for a class, then note the time that the clip appeared in the film... Our handbook now resolves this problem by providing an easy-to-use list of gospel parallels that tells students and teachers the precise hour/minute/second on a given DVD that the gospel story or scene occurs. We believe that DVD
    Elsewhere they make the point that DVD technology has fundamentally changed the way this kind of clip surveying can happen because not only is it possible to skip to a precise point in the film, but also, unlike video tapes, the timings are unaffected by the speed of the video player and where you start counting from.

    All in all this looks like it will be an excellent resource, and hopefully it will far outstrip my Jesus Film Scene Comparison Spreadsheet, which lacks both timings and scripture references (although it does cover 30 films rather than just 18).

    Please note this image is for illustration purposes only and bears no relation to the official cover

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