Jesus in Film (P/G)

Field: New Testament
Unit Code(s): BN9700T (Class based) 
Unit value: 24 points
Level: Postgraduate Elective
Delivery mode: Face-to-face 

Foundation level New Testament study or equivalent

Content: This unit explores the portrayal of Jesus in modern film. By viewing representative films and film-clips in conjunction with selected readings, the course analyzes and assesses the cinematic depiction of Jesus in these films in light of the findings of modern biblical scholarship and the historical record found in the New Testament Gospels and other literature. This unit will also foster a critical awareness of how Jesus films influence viewers’ perceptions about Jesus and the early Jesus movement.​
Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • critique the portrayal of Jesus in films where Jesus is the chief character in light of biblical terms
  • analyse the ways in which various narratives (biblical and non-biblical), genres and cultures have influenced the portrayal of Jesus in film
  • critically evaluate the ways in which Jesus films influence viewers' perceptions about Jesus and the early Jesus movement. 
  • journal, equivalent to 1,000 words (20%)
  • 1,500-word essay (25%)
  • 3,500-word critical review (55%)
Recommended Reading:

*recommended for purchase

Adams, Edward. Parallel Lives of Jesus: A Guide to the Four Gospels. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2011. 

Aland, Kurt, ed. Synopsis of the Four Gospels, Revised Standard Version. New York: American Bible Society, 2010.

Ehrman, B. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christians Writings, 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Powell, M. A. Fortress Introduction to the Gospels. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.

Reinhartz, Adele. Jesus of Hollywood. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Staley, Jeffrey L. and Richard Walsh. Jesus, the Gospels, and Cinematic Imagination: A Handbook to Jesus on DVD. Atlanta: Westminster John Knox, 2007.

Stern, Richard C., Clayton Jefford and Guerric De Bona. Savior on the Silver Screen. New York and Mahwah: Paulist, 1999.

Tatum, W. Barnes. Jesus at the Movies: A Guide to the First Hundred Years. 3rded. Santa Rosa: Polebridge, 2012.