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Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue, 2nd ed.

ISBN: 9781441251695



This new edition of a bestselling textbook has been substantially rewritten, mentions two hundred additional movies, and offers in-depth discussion of eight recent popular films, including March of the Penguins, Magnolia, and Million Dollar Baby . It encourages readers to ponder movie themes that permeate our culture as well as motion pictures that have demonstrated power to shape our perceptions of everything from relationships and careers to good and evil.

In addition, the second edition adds two new chapters—one on the role of music and image for understanding a film's power and meaning and one that helps viewers wrestle with ethical issues raised in film-viewing experiences. Beyond exploring "why" Christians should be involved with film, the second edition now offers a sustained discussion of "how" they might best do this.

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Key Features

  • Provides academic and theological approach to analyzing films
  • Perfect for students, professors, and small groups
  • Includes notes, bibliography, and index

Praise for the Print Edition

Whether it be the human condition, the nature of grace or the prejudice in our own hearts, the cinema can be an invaluable asset to the heart and mind of the believer. Johnston teaches fans and skeptics alike how to cultivate a well-informed (both culturally and theologically) approach to this wellspring of human experience.

—John Thompson, CCM

Considering the thousands of films shown every year, and the vast crowds who rush to see them, it is remarkable that so little sustained Christian attention has been paid to the world of the 'big screen.' Films can undoubtedly shape and change our fundamental attitudes and beliefs. Here, at last, is an attempt to take that with theological seriousness. Reel Spirituality will not only help us develop a Christian wisdom about film; in turn, it will also make us ask searching questions about the Christian faith and the way we express it. Throughout, the book is accessible and engaging. I commend it most warmly.

—Jeremy Begbie, University of St. Andrews; Ridley Hall, University of Cambridge

Product Details

  • Title: Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue, 2nd ed.
  • Author: Robert K. Johnston
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 352

Robert Johnston joined the faculty of Fuller in 1993, serving as provost until 1995 and now serving as professor of theology and culture. He brought with him 20 years of teaching, ecclesial, and academic administrative experience, including 11 years as dean and provost at North Park College and Theological Seminary. Johnston has published in a variety of fields, including selected Old Testament topics, evangelical theology, and, most recently, theology and film. His recent books include Useless Beauty, Finding God in the Movies (cowritten with Catherine Barsotti), Life Is Not Work/Work Is Not Life (cowritten with J. Walker Smith), and Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue, 2nd edition. A past president of the American Theological Society and the recipient of two major research grants from the Luce Foundation, Johnston is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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  1. Allen Bingham