The peculiar bond between mortals and gods, between earth and heaven contributed in a decisive manner to the articulation of human communities in the course of history. For example, through its major text [the Bible] and its interpretations, through its dogmatic system, its law and morality, through its ecclesiastical and academic constructions, Judaeo-Christianity successfully transferred to the early modern European states like England an augmented classical heritage, thereby playing a major role in the constitution of their identity. Moreover, even after the rise of the modern scientific attitude towards man and world Christianity did not cease to exercise a subtle, overwhelming influence, for exact science, primarily preoccupied to set up forms of specialized knowledge and technology, held no dominion over other essential constitutive aspects of human being such as meditation, morality, and spirituality. Using film examples, the seminar will try to show how contemporary English life is pervaded, on the surface as well as in depth, by Christian values, which are either acknowledged, rejected, or re-appropriated by secularized existential protocols. A deconstruction of the subtending layers of some not necessarily programmatic religious films brings forth the manner in which human perception, thought, morality, action, and art continue to draw heavily on Judaeo-Christian existential elements such as love, hope, faith, righteousness, self-sacrifice, altruism, and free will whenever man finds himself in need to renew the grounding of his being in the world in order to, once more, come to terms with both his majestic infinite understanding possibilities and his tragic physical finitude.
Course instructor: Dr Ioana Gogeanu
Week 1: Introductory lecture
Week 2: Methodological clarifications: philological-historical hermeneutics; phenomenological suggestions. Review of research strategy
Weeks 3-4: Basic meanings of religious values and institutions
Readings: The Bible; Davie, M., et al, eds., New Dictionary of Theology : Historical and Systematic ; McKim, D., [ed.], Westminster Dictionary of Theology, Westminster: John Knox Press, 2014.
Week 5: Religion and contemporary film [i]
Readings: Blitzek, W.L., “Religion and the Movies” in The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film, ed. Blitzek, W.L. (London, New York: Continuum,2009), 19-28; Blitzek, W.L., “Using Religion to Interpret Movies” in The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film, 29-38; Blitzek, W.L., “Using Movies to Critique Religion” in The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film, 39-48.
Week 6: Religion and contemporary film [ii]
Readings: Nolan, S., “The Books of the Film: Trends in Religious Film-Analysis” in Literature and Theology, vol. 12, no.1 , 1-15; Marsh, C., “Theology and Film” in The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film, 59-69; Wright, J.M., Religion, Film and Cultural Studies in The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film, 101-112.
Week 7: Religion and contemporary film [iii]
Readings: Faber, A., “Religion, Ethics and Film,” in The Continuum Companion to Religion and Film, 49-58; Furnal, J.R.,”On the Hermenutics of Religious Film Criticism” in Literature and Theology, vol.26, no.1 , 77-92; Last, R., “A Style-Sensitive Approach to Religion and Film” in Numen, vol.59 , 545-563.
Week 8: Film Analysis: A Man for All Seasons [Fred Zinnemann, 1966]
Readings: Bolt, R., A Man for All Seasons (London: Bloomsbury, 1960); “A Man for All Seasons.” Script. https://www.scripts.com/script/a_man_for_all_seasons_1131
Week 9: Film Analysis : The Duellists [Ridley Scott, 1977]
Readings: Conrad, J., The Duel [New York: Melville, 2011]; The Duellists. Script. https://www.scripts.com/script/the_duellists_20123
Week 10: Film Analysis : A Room with a View [James Ivory, 1985]
Readings: Forster, E.M., A Room with a View [Penn State University, 2007]; A Room with a View. Script. https://www.scripts.com/script/a_room_with_a_view_17154
Week 11: Film Analysis: Chariots of Fire [Hugh Hudson, 1981]
Readings: Chariots of Fire. Script. https://www.scripts.com/script-pdf/5313
Week 12: Film Analysis: A Month in the Country [Pat O’Connor, 1987]
Readings: Carr, J.L., A Month in the Country (1980)
Weeks 13-14: Round table. Paper presentations
REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION
The grade will take into consideration class attendance and participation (50%) and a research paper on a subject dealing with the relation between religion and film to be presented at the end of the semester (50%). The paper will not exceed 5 pp. [bibliography apart], will follw MLA or the Chicago Manual of Style rules and wil be delievered to the professor two weeks in advance of the presentation.