S.D. Giere

Screenshots (top to bottom):

Shawshank Redemption (1994); Son of Man/Jezile (2006); Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (1964); Babettes Gæstebud (1989);  Jésus de Montréal (1989).

Bible, Church, & Film


This course is designed to engage the intersection of Bible and Cinema with special attention to place of the Church in/on/under film.  Students will explore the categories of bible on film and the bible in film, as the class engages a number of films over the course of the semester.  Students are encouraged to use the engagement with film to become better “readers” of both Scripture and film. The films explored reflect a global cinematic interpretations of Scripture.  Students will consider ways that film can be an asset in ministry.



Engagement with course lectures, films, readings, and discussions.

Short Film / Music Video Short Project: Students will find a short film (see vimeo.com) or music video (see Vevo on YouTube.com), screen it for the class, and give a brief (5-8 minute) presentation on a aspect of the film informed by Reinhartz, Bible and Cinema.

Final paper (7-10 pages) in which a student will take up one of the following trajectories: (1) engage in a thorough analysis and evaluation of a particular film’s intersection(s) with the bible or vice versa; (2) pursue an integrative and comparative examination of a theme, biblical text, or biblical character across 2-4 films; or (3) develop a thorough plan for an engagement with the bible in the parish by way of film(s).


Course Resources


Syllabus - Fall 2017




Adele Reinhartz, Bible and Cinema: An Introduction (Routledge, 2013).

Adele Reinhartz, ed., Bible and Cinema: Fifty Key Films (Routledge, 2013).


Reference / Recommended

Roy M. Anker, Catching Light: Looking for God in the Movies (Eerdmans, 2004).

Lloyd Baugh, Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ-Figures in Film (Sheed & Ward, 1997).

Cheryl J. Exum, The Bible in Film — the Bible and Film (Brill, 2006).

_____, Retellings: The Bible in Literature, Music, Art, and Film (Brill, 2007).

Roy Kinnard and Tim Davis, Divine Images: A History of Jesus on the Screen (Carol Publishing Group, 1992).

John Lyden, The Routledge Companion to Religion and Film (Routledge, 2009).

Margaret Miles, Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies (Beacon, 1996).

Adele Reinhartz, Scripture on the Silver Screen (Westminster John Knox, 2003).

_____, Jesus of Hollywood (Oxford, 2007).

David Shepherd, ed., Images of the Word: Holllywood’s Bible and Beyond (SBL, 2008).

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

W. Barnes Tatum, Jesus at the Movies: A Guide to the First Hundred Years (3rd edition; Chalice, 2013).

Richard G. Walsh, Reading Jesus in the Dark: Portrayals of Jesus in Film (Trinity Press, 2003).

Richard G. Walsh, Jeffrey L. Staley, and Adele Reinhartz, eds., Son of Man: An African Jesus Film (Sheffield Phoenix, 2013).


Resources on the Web

Bible Films Blog by Matt Page

Internet Movie Database

Journal of Religion & Film (academic, peer reviewed online journal)


Films - Partial List


Bible on Film

Barabbas (Richard Fleischer, 1961)

Ben-Hur (William Wyler, 1959)

The Bible: In the Beginning... (John Huston, 1966)

David and Bathsheba (Henry King, 1951)

La Genesé (Cheick Oumar Sissoko, 1999) Mali/France

Godspell: A Musical Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew (David Greene, 1973)

Golem, l'espirt de l'exil (Amos Gitai, 1992) France

The Green Pastures (Mar Connelly, William Keighley, 1936)

The History of the World, Part I (Mel Brooks, 1981)

Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964) Italy

Jesus Christ Superstar (Norman Jewison, 1973)

Jésus de Montréal (Denys Arcand, 1989) Canada

King David (Bruce Beresford, 1985)

The King of Kings (Cecil B. DeMille, 1927)

King of Kings (Nicholas Ray, 1961)

The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988)

From the Manger to the Cross (Sidney Olcott, 1912)

Monty Python's Life of Brian (Terry Jones, 1979) UK

Noah (Darren Aronofsky, 2014)

The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson, 2004)

The Prince of Egypt (1998)

The Queen of Sheba (J. Gordon Edwards, 1921)

Quo Vadis (Mervyn LeRoy, 1951)

La Regin di Saba (Pietro Francisi, 1952) Italy

The Robe (Henry Koster, 1953) USA

Salomé (J. Gordon Edwards, 1918)

Salome (William Dieterle, 1953)

Samson and Delilah (Cecil B. DeMille, 1949)

Son of Man / Jezile (Mark Dornford May, 2006) South Africa

The Story of Ruth (Henry Koster, 1960)

The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille, 1956)


Bible in Film

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

Being There (Hal Ashby, 1979)

Hail, Caesar! (Ethan & Joel Coen, 2016)

Hawaii, Oslo (Erik Poppe, 2004) Norway

Kagemusha (Akira Kurosawa, 1980) Japan

The Lego Movie (Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, 2014)

Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)

The Matrix (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Joel Coen, 2000)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1928) France

Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)

A Serious Man (Ethan and Joel Coen, 2009)

The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994)

Sling Blade (Billy Bob Thornton, 1996)

Still Crazy (Brian Gibson, 1998) UK

True Grit (Ethan and Joel Coen, 2010)


Church on Film

Adams æbler (Anders Thomas Jensen, 2005) Denmark

The Apostle (Robert Duvall, 1997)

Babettes Gæstebud (Gabriel Axel, 1989) Denmark

De Unsynlige (Erik Poppe, 2008) Norway

Des hommes et des dieux (Xavier Beauvois, 2010) France

Elmer Gantry (Richard Brooks, 1960)

Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2013) Poland

Italiensk for begyndere (Lone Scherfig, 2000) Denmark

Lars and the Real Girl (Craig Gillespie, 2007)

Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014) Russia

Lilies of the Field (Ralph Nelson, 1963)

The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)

Остров (Pavel Lungin, 2006) Russia

Riisuttu mies (Aku Louhimies, 2006) Finland

Så som i himmelen (Kay Pollok, 2004) Sweden

Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016)




© S.D. Giere