Hollywood Dreams and Biblical Stories

By Bernard Brandon Scott | Go to book overview

5 MORALLY ALONE

There is hardly any human action, however private it
may be, which does not result from some very general
conception men have of God, of His relations with the
human race, of the nature of their soul, and of their
duties to their fellows.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1835–1840)

CRITICS WERE UPSET WHEN RUDOLF BULTmann said that theology is anthropology, but it has become a truism (Bultmann 1955, 2:191). Perhaps in a graphic age this should be printed theology (a word about God) is anthropology (a word about humanity). We cannot say something about God without disclosing something about ourselves. Although Bultmann had Paul’s theology in mind, his saying would seem to be true anytime one deals “with God not as he is in Himself but only with God as He is significant for man, for man’s responsibility and man’s salvation.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the earliest and most profound thinkers about the American experience, thought that the inverse is likewise true: Anthropology is theology. To speak about anthropos (humanity) is to speak about theos (God). The usefulness of this hypothesis is perhaps not immediately obvious. Yet even those statements about humanity that have no obvious referent to God inevitably betray a premise about God, at least implicitly. Moreover, if the way we depict the world and humanity implicitly conjures up an image of God, then the way movies depict humanity in the world will mirror assumptions about God, whether present, absent, or even dead. Thus, movies with no obvious religious theme are important theological

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Hollywood Dreams and Biblical Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - A Flickering Light 1
  • 2 - From Graven Image to Dream Factory 19
  • 3 - The Hero 47
  • 4 - The Duke 69
  • 5 - Morally Alone 99
  • 6 - The Poor You Have Always with You 131
  • 7 - Loss of Innocence 157
  • 8 - From the Destruction of the Temple to Mad Max 193
  • 9 - Male and Female 219
  • 10 - I’M Dreaming of a White Christmas 259
  • Scripture and Ancient Source Index 289
  • Author and Subject Index 292
  • Film Index 296
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