Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen [Paperback]

By R. Douglas Geivett (Editor) & James S. Spiegel (Editor)
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Item Description...
* Editors Geivett and Spiegel along with contributors such as Dallas Willard, Kelly James Clark, Sara Shady, and James Sennett apply classic and current movies to the exploration of major theological themes. Examine the human condition (Citizen Kane); mind and knowledge (The Truman Show); the moral life (Bowling for Columbine); faith and religion (Contact); and more. 320 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.

Publishers Description
"Those who tell stories rule society." Plato So who today are our principal storytellers? Not philosophers, but filmmakers. For those who know both the enormous entertainment potential and the culture-shaping power of film, this book will stir mind and imagination. For great stories freight world-sized ideas, ideas worthy of contemplation and conversation. Great cinema inspires wonder. But another philosopher, Aristotle, reminds us that wonder is the true source of philosophy. So perhaps Plato or Aristotle might have a shot at ruling society, even today--if they took an interest in film. These fourteen essays consider classic and current films together with several major philosophical themes, all within the context of Christian faith: (1) the human condition, (2) the human mind and the nature of knowing, (3) the moral life, and (4) faith and religion. Citizen Kane, Big Fish and Pretty Woman contribute to an in-depth consideration of the human condition. The Truman Show, The Matrix, Being John Malkovich and It's a Wonderful Life, among others, illuminate reflection on the human mind and the nature of knowing. Looking at the moral life, contributors interact with such notable films as Pleasantville, Bowling for Columbine, Mystic River and The Silence of the Lambs. The final section pursues the theme of faith and religion traced through a number of Hong Kong martial arts films, Contact, 2001: A Space Odyssey and U2's music documentary Rattle and Hum. A veritable film festival for all those who want to nurture the wonder of philosophical inquiry and the love of Christian theology through an engagement with the big ideas on the big screen.

Item Specifications...

Pages   311
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.32" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830825894  
EAN  9780830825899  

Availability  149 units.
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More About R. Douglas Geivett & James S. Spiegel

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R. Douglas Geivett is professor of philosophy in Talbot School of Theology at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He is the author of Evil and the Evidence for God, and coeditor of four books: Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology; In Defense of Miracles; Faith, Film and Philosophy; and Being Good: Christian Virtues for Everyday Life.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Movies > Guides & Reviews   [415  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy   [1924  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Good Idea  Jan 4, 2010
I give the authors all praise for writing this book. The subject matter is not addressed nearly enough in our culture. These days, movies are often absorbed by the masses completely unscrutinized. Thus, a book like this is very welcome. However, although the idea works in theory, the execution is sorely lacking in this work.

The authors' first mistake was limiting the range of discussed films to those which actively invite philosophical inquiry. In this book I had hoped to find authors willing to discuss films which are not on the surface very "deep". They missed a great opportunity to reveal the inherent arguments and presuppositions in all films, not just the more serious ones.

Second, they take far too much time to cover their material. The authors use far more words than are necessary to make their respective points. This book would have benefited from a more concise delivery. The most direct consequence of this is that only a very few movies can be addressed within its pages, while the book is still quite thick. One ends up getting very little information in a very long amount of time.

Entire genres are simply never addressed. Wonder what these men would have to say about Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hurr, Braveheart, or Gladiator? Too bad. The films which attract the most Academy Awards and, more importantly, the most viewers are simply not spoken of.

A book like this needed to be written, but unfortunately for its readers, it is simply a great example of untapped potential.
Screen School 101  Jul 7, 2009
"Faith, Film and Philosophy" is an excellent collection of essays on various aspects of the messages of modern film. It gets a bit thick with the academics at times, but is still a brain-stirring, thought-provoking read. As always, an anthology is sometimes spotty in content, and this one, good as it is, is no exception. The chapter on horror movies is somewhat of a waste. But the majority of the essays are well worth the read.
Selection of movies not my cup of tea  Jun 26, 2008
When I first picked up the book, I was excited. It looked like something we could utilize in teaching our senior high school Bible students in the world views class. As I read through the chapters, though, the book went much deeper than I would have liked, delving into many no-name movies that, honestly, made reading this book a chore. By the end, I was ready for it to be over like a poorly written movie.

Don't get me wrong, as there were several awesome choices, including The Truman Show (Geivett) and The Matrix (Hunt), films that could be talked about for hours. But I believe that if you want to give this book a fair shake, you will need to see each of the films first, and I just wasn't willing to pay the price. Some of the choices were specialty/independent movies that many local video stores probably don't even carry. In addition, the authors used some pretty immoral R-rated movies that I wouldn't want to subject myself or my students to. Don't get me wrong, as I will watch select R-rated movies, but Pretty Woman, Run Lola Run, King of the Ants, and others that were written about are just, quite frankly, not worth the 2-hour investment you would have to spend on each one. Also, the writing in this book really gets pretty deep, which more than once lost me in the analysis.

Shoot, there are so many other movies--and popular ones at that--that I think would have been better choices to analyze, especially those done in the last decade. How about Juno? Lord of the Rings? Brokeback Mountain? A Beautiful Mind? Those would have all been good and were very popular in the culture. And where was Woody Allen? Yes, he's pretty exotic, but Annie Hall or Hannah and her Sisters certainly should have had consideration as there is so much there to analyze and understand; Allen sort of opened the sexual doors that were not readily available before him. (A note: The choices above are by no means moral movies, but when it comes to understanding the culture we live in, I think these would have made an interesting look compared to the movies selected in the book.)

Overall, get this book for some select chapters (what fun to teach several of these movies, as mentioned above), but to get full understanding, be willing to see the other movies if you want to get something out of the chapter. And go deep. Too bad, because I think there was more promise with this book than what was delivered.
I love movies, sort of love philosophy, and really love this book  Apr 18, 2008
I can't stop talking to people about this book! It covers a wide time frame for movie-making, as well as many different genres, and even if you haven't seen a movie you're fine because the book has plot summaries in the back.

It was the most fun to read chapters focusing on films I already knew, but it also inspired me to want to watch at least three I haven't seen.

I took a few philosophy courses ten years ago and at this point I have no interest in slogging through dense, painful, footnote-infested textbooks. This book was the opposite of that.
A great reference book  Apr 17, 2008
This is not the type of book to sit and read in one go. Rather it's best read slowly, over time. See the movie, read the review, mull over it, talk about it with a friend.

Divided into 4 categories, The Human Condition, Mind and Knowledge, The Moral Life, and Faith and Religion, the authors and editors have done an excellent job of demonstrating how to recognize and articulate the various worldviews foisted on us in Film.

I love the opening line in the introduction by James Spiegel,"Those who tell stories, rule the world." (Plato) Todays world offers a plethora of storytellers. Each with their own unique worldview. The discerning movie- goer will want to read this book to better understand the message behind the movies we all enjoy.

A great resource for parents and teachers!

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