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    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.


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    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    Judas Iscariot: Damned or Redeemed
    A Critical Examination of the Portrayal of Judas in Jesus Films (1902-2014)


    Judas Iscariot: Damned or Redeemed
    A Critical Examination of the Portrayal of Judas in Jesus Films (1902-2014)
    Carol A. Hebron (2016)
    288 pages
    Bloomsbury/T&T Clark 
    Paperback & ebook
    ISBN 978-0567686947

    Books about Jesus films have remained a popular both with academics and those in the pews for some time now. As the market gets bigger so it is starting to dviersify so it's good that the newer books in the arena are starting to become more specific. Catherine O'Brien's "Celluloid Madonna" was published in 2011 and now Carol A. Hebron has produced an excellent example of this is in "Judas Iscariot: Damned or Redeemed - A Critical Examination of the Portrayal of Judas in Jesus Films (1902-2014)". 

    After the introduction provides "Christianity's Evaluation of Judas" and the first chapter looks at how Judas' character in films might be studied, Hebron proceeds to work through the history of cinema looking at significant protrayals of Judas in film from the early Pathé passion plays, through to the 21st century and films such as Color of the Cross and the recent Son of God

     The penultimate chapter draws together the threads of the previous six and finds a transition from a theology of rejection through to a theology of acceptance. This is not to argue that the filmic character of Judas changes theology "but, rather, changes in theology reflect the way in which the filmic Judas is portrayed". The final chapter looks at issues around antisemitism and specifically the Holocaust and Shoah theology. It's a poignant and important way to end the book. 

    One one of the things I most appreciated about Hebron's book is the breadth of films it covers, not always going for the obvious choices. It's great to see films such as Golgotha (1935), El Martir del Calvario (1952), Karunamayadu (1978) and Color of the Cross gaining more critical attention and this brings a vital world focus to Hebron's arguments. In particular I found her reading of Golgotha to profoundly change my views on that film, based, admittedly on watching an unsubtitled version around a decade ago. Nevertheless Hebron makes a persuasive case for the level of antisemtisim in the film. 

    Finally, it's good to see a work such as this at the more affordable end of the price range, with both paperback version and the ebook being in the region of £20-£30.

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