• Bible Films Blog

    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.

    Matt Page


    Thursday, March 25, 2021

    Seven Forthcoming Books on the Bible and Cinema

    I'm aware of seven books about cinema and the Bible being published either this year or next so I thought it would be worth me pulling all their details together into one place. I've contributed to two of them and know the other people involved, so it's an exciting time for publishing in this area. I may revise this post as time goes along and more details become apparent and hopefully I'll be able to review some of these in due course.

    100 Bible Films - Matt Page
    This is obviously going to be the best of those mentioned here (that's a joke) and if you can only afford one, then this is the one to go for ;-)

    I'm covering what I consider the 100 most significant film adaptations of the Bible aiming for a really diverse mix of filmmakers from across 14 decades, 6 continents, with a wide range of beliefs and covering stories from across the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the deuterocanonical books. It's written in a more terse style than my rambling blog posts here and will have plenty of images as well as an appendix listing the entries by biblical character.

    It's part of the BFI's "Screen Guides" series and I honestly couldn't be more excited.
    Due: February 2022 [BFI]

    Costuming Christ: Re-dressing First-Century ‘Jews’ and ‘Christians’ in Passion Dramas - Katie Turner
    After a number of general books on the subject, it's good to see more specialist volumes staring to be published and so Katie's "Costuming Christ" will be most welcome. Building on her PhD thesis on the "Representation of New Testament Figures in Passion Dramas" Katie's book will look at a subject discuss less than I probably should and with the expert eye of a NT scholar. Katie's perhaps best known for her contribution to the collective volume "Jesus and Brian" called "'The Shoe is the Sign!' Costuming Brian and Dressing the First Century".
    Due: 2022 [T&T Clark]

    Jesus Christ Movie Star - Phil Hall
    "Jesus Christ Movie Star" will explore how Jesus has been depicted by filmmakers from the beginnings of the motion picture industry in the 1890s through the digital cinema of today. Phil is a film journalist / historian who also runs the Online Movie Show podcast and has written nine other books. I sense from some of his tweets and blog posts that he'll be covering some of the less well known international films as well.
    Due: May 2021 [Bear Manor Media]

    Jesus, the Gospels and Cinematic Imagination (revised) - Richard Walsh and Jeffrey L. Staley
    Richard is probably the greatest scholar in this area and the first edition of "Jesus, the Gospels and Cinematic Imagination" (also co-written with Jeffrey Staley) has long been one of my favourite books on the subject. However, it was written for a very different cultural context where DVD was king and before a number of recent Jesus films have been released.

    Richard and Jeffrey's revision, then, is fairly wide ranging, including chapters on two of those recent releases  films, Jezile (Dornford-May, 2006) and Garth Davis' Mary Magdalene (2018) as well as revisiting Alice Guy's Vie de Jesus (1906) and Il Messia (Rossellini, 1975). Moreover there will also be more emphasis on films and film criticism and less on gospel criticism and more attention to location, actors' other roles and directors' other films. 
    Due: Fall 2021
    More info (publisher website)

    Judas Superstar:  Judas Iscariot in Cinema - Christoph Stener
    Having previously covered religious texts (vol.1), Christian art (vol.2) and dark legend / theatre / folklore / caricature (vol.3) in his series on the antisemitic iconography of Judas Iscariot,  Prof Stener arrives at cinematic depictions of Judas for volume IV.

    While Stener is French, there is both French and English version available, The longer French version comes in two parts and covers 137 films over 1200 pages, but there is an abridged English version which discusses 121 films in 192 pages. He analyses each film for its respect for the Bible and qualifies its message either ecumenical or antisemitic.
    Published: Feb 2021 [BoD]
    More info (publisher website)

    T&T Clark Handbook to Jesus and Film - Richard Walsh (ed.)
    Walsh again, only this time he's editing the work of some of the best scholars in the field (and me...). There are 27 chapters broken into two sections. Part 1 covers "The Jesus Film Tradition" while part 2 looks at "Other Jesuses, Christs, Messiahs, Sons of Men…". A lot of those involved also contributed to Walsh / T&T Clark's 2018 book "Companion to the Bible and Film". This should be out already, but mine hasn't arrived yet, so I'm assuming there's been some kind of a delay. 
    Due: Feb 2021 [T&T Clark]
    More info (publisher website)

    Bible and Film: The Basics - Matt Rindge

    I only learnt about this one after making the original post, but Matt Rindge's Bible and Film: The Basics is also due out this July. It joins the list of publication I like to call half-and-half Bible film books, following in the tradition of Baugh's "Imaging the Divine" where the author explores biblical adaptations (Bible on Film) before discussing Christ-figure, allegorical, metaphorical and thematic treatments (Bible in Film). The latter chapters "provide a hermeneutic by which readers can create their own new conversations with the manifold ways that Bible and film interact".
    Due: July 2021 [Routledge]
    More info (publisher website)

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