This collection of essays by biblical scholars is the first book-length treatment of the 2014 film Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky. The film has proved to be of great interest to scholars working on the interface between the Bible and popular culture, not only because it was heralded as the first of a new generation of biblical blockbusters, but also because of its bold, provocative, and yet unusually nuanced approach to the interpretation and use of the Noah tradition, in both its biblical and extra-biblical forms. The book’s chapters, written by both well-established and up-and-coming scholars, engage with and analyze a broad range of issues raised by the film, including: its employment and interpretation of the ancient Noah traditions; its engagement with contemporary environmental themes and representation of non-human animals; its place within the history of cinematic depictions of the flood, status as an ‘epic’, and associated relationship to spectacle; the theological implications of its representation of a hidden and silent Creator and responses to perceived revelation; the controversies surrounding its reception among religious audiences, especially in the Muslim world; and the nature and implications of its convoluted racial and gender politics. Noah as Antihero will be of considerable interest to scholars conducting research in the areas of religion and film, contemporary hermeneutics, reception history, religion and popular culture, feminist criticism, and ecological ethics.
Table of Contents
Introduction Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch and Jon Morgan 1. Seeing is Believing: Spectacle and Revelation in Aronofsky’s Noah David J. Shepherd 2. Noah as a Biblical Blockbuster Laura Copier 3. Noah as an Aronofsky Epic Richard Walsh 4. Hearing God: Noah, Aronofsky’s Noah, and Viewer Response to Noah Robert Johnston 5. Muslim Reception of Aronofsky’s Noah David Tollerton 6. Rock Giants, A Magic Stone, and the Creator's Light: Extra-Biblical Literature in the Noah Movie Ingrid Lily 7. An Ongoing Tradition: Aronofsky’s Noah as 21st-Century Rewritten Scripture Matthew A. Collins 8. The Presence and Hiddenness of God In Noah Reinhold Zwick 9. How Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel Handle Ham Justin Reed 10. Real Women and Men Who Can Kill: Gender Politics in Aronofsky’s Noah Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch 11. Saving the Innocent: The Role of Animals in the Ecology of Noah Jon Morgan 12. It’s not the end of the world: Darren Aronofsky’s Noah and IMAX Apocalyptic Ecology Sam Tongue
Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch is Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University and the film editor for the projected 30-volume Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (De Gruyter 2010-present). She is the editor of Bible in Motion (De Gruyter 2016), a two-volume handbook on the Bible’s reception in film, and the author of many articles and chapters on the Bible in film. She is also the author of Studying the Old Testament (Abingdon, 2007).
Jon Morgan is Lecturer of Biblical Interpretation at the University of Chester and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester and the University of Exeter. He is the author of several articles and chapters including "Examining the Entrails: Reading Religion in and through Exodus: Gods and Kings" (Biblical Reception forthcoming) and "Visitors, Gatekeepers and Receptionists: Reflections on the Shape of Biblical Studies and the Role of Reception History" (in Reception History and Biblical Studies: Theory and Practice, T&T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2015).
"More than merely a volume of essays on a very interesting movie, Noah as Antihero explores how movies can enrich our understanding of Bible stories and our understanding of our own faith. An excellent contribution to the study of religion and film."
- William Blizek, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA, and Founding Editor of the Journal of Religion and Film
"This volume provides a much-needed scholarly perspective on Noah in its discussion of a range of issues, including the film’s environmentalism, its status as ‘apocalyptic blockbuster,’ and how Aronofsky used biblical and extra-biblical materials in making the film. It provides a close reading of the film from multiple vantage points and so gives a fine example of the complexity of popular films in relationship to religion."
- John C. Lyden, Grand View University, USA, and Editor of the Journal of Religion & Film
"This very fascinating collection of articles is of interest not only to biblical scholars working in the field of film studies but to all interested in the wider reception history of the Bible ... Well worth a read!"
- Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, University of Aberdeen, UK, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament