One danger and eleven types of academic disquiet whilst hunting for cinematic christ-figures

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Christ-figures increasingly permeate the popular cinema, but hunting for them is not necessarily a benign or unproblematic activity. Following a selective review of the film and religion literature, and a preliminary scan of the popular cinema utilizing textually-based humanist film criticism as the guiding analytical lens, one danger and eleven types of academic disquiet were explicated herein. Namely: (1) When Factual Minimalism Equals Certainty: Holy Hope, (2) Misidentification: When Something Supposedly “Christian” Was Something Else, (3) When Nothing Equals Something: Creatio Ex Nihilo, (4) Spiritually Negating Christian Iconography: Form Versus Substance, (5) Some Problems with the Secular-is-Sacred Argument, (6) Film is Not a Substitute for Faith, Religion, or God, (7) Rewriting the Film: Aesthetic Violence?, (8) Tenuous Links, Strained Associations, and Uncertain Correspondences, (9) Rejecting Overt Religion for Covert Religion: Distorting Theology and Misdirecting Faith?, (10) From Symbolism Fatigue to Symbolism Cynicism, and (11) Pattern Appeasement: From Being Uncritical to Narrative Insights. It was concluded that being cognizant of the inherent dangers and sources of academic disquiet is a valuable means of expanding one's visual and intellectual imagination, and also useful for the postmodern church. Further research into the subtextual sub-genre of the religion-and-film field was encouraged, warmly recommended, and is already long overdue.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17b
Number of pages31
JournalRupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Christ-figure
  • Jesus Christ
  • Religion-and-film
  • Sacred subtexts


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