Film, Philosophy and Religion

William H. U. Anderson (Ed.)

by Zeke Saber (University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts), Matthew Small (University of Western Ontario), Travis Dumsday (Concordia University of Edmonton), John Paul Arceno (Union Community Bible Church), Giese Ted (Mount Olive Lutheran Church), David Kyle Johnson (King’s College), Justin McLendon (Grand Canyon University), Stefano Bigliardi (Al Akhawayn University), Sarah Cameron (Taylor Seminary), Anupama A. P. (VIT-AP University), William H. U. Anderson (Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta), Vinod Balakrishnan (National Institute of Technology), Erin Archer (Concordia University of Edmonton), Floribert Patrick C. Endong (University of Dschang, Cameroon), Robert Matikiti (Christ College of Zimbabwe), Barışkan Ünal , Şeyma Balcı (University of Kastamonu, Turkey), Jonathan Strand (Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta), William Bowes (University of Edinburgh)

Purchase this book

$ 59
Availability: In stock
currency displayed based on your location
(click here to change currency)

The dialogue between film and religion/philosophy continues to mature as it enters its fourth decade. This fine collection of essays on 'Film, Philosophy and Religion' that Bill Anderson has brought together extends the scope of the discussion. It includes essays on both Africa and Turkey, broadens the dialogue to include the experience of the spectator, deepens the conversation theoretically through reference to both philosophy and critical film theory, and focuses the reader's attention helpfully around issues of spirituality and transcendence. Like a box of fine chocolates, it will continue to surprise and delight all those who take and eat.

Dr. Robert K. Johnston
Professor of Theology and Culture
Director of Reel Spirituality
Fuller Theological Seminary

Like going to the movie theater and having a diverse array of intriguing films before you, Anderson’s 'Film, Philosophy and Religion' presents us a host of thought-provoking chapters—something for everyone and everything—for those who love these sorts of books. Highly Recommended!

Dr. Adam Barkman
Professor of Philosophy at Redeemer University
Co-Series Editor for "Lexington’s Critical Companion to Contemporary Directors"

Hollywood is a $40 billion annual business, one that is highly influential in culture. If we want to know who we are as individuals and a society, what we believe and what we value, we need to know and understand Hollywood and film. Make no mistake, Hollywood is neither philosophically, politically, nor morally neutral! Many studies demonstrate how movies “affect” us long before we have thought it through. In other words, Hollywood “smuggles” all kinds of ideas into our minds and hearts without us even knowing it. While Hollywood may be the biggest and most influential in the world, this book will demonstrate the growing international influence of film from India (Bollywood), Nigeria (Nollywood), Zimbabwe (Zollywood) and Yesilçam (Turkey).

'Film, Philosophy and Religion' explicitly and implicitly takes a philosophical approach to analyzing film theoretically and methodologically. There are topic and film-specific chapters that take a theological approach, and others that explore ideas like Affect, Axiology, Art Reflecting the Artist and Transcendence (Spirituality) of Film. Hermeneutics also have a central role in the book, including films based on biblical texts that act as interpretations of these texts and fill in the blanks (albeit speculatively by way of script and directors). Chapters also explore the philosophy of aesthetics and film realism which end with theology, while other chapters explore the incompatibility of science with religion, as well as a chapter on the timely topic of rape in Turkish film. The book’s scope goes from the “Horror of Evil in Ridley Scott’s Alien Universe” to “Love Can Thaw a Frozen Heart: The Philosophy of Love in the Frozen Films” (Disney Princess Narratives).

This book represents international films and scholars. The diverse perspectives from theist to atheist—and everything in-between—are sure to spark thinking and generate talking points that provide something for everyone in an accessible format. It will be of great interest to university students and professors, scholars, seminaries, and the general public.

List of Contributors


William H. U. Anderson
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 1
Scorsese and Plato: A Philosophical Method for Cinematic Analysis and Discovering Divine Revelation
Matthew Small
University of Western Ontario

Chapter 2
Depictions of Jesus Christ in Twenty-First Century Film
William Bowes
University of Edinburgh

Chapter 3
Watching Prisoners Through the Lens of Patristic Teachings on Evil, Demons and Spiritual Warfare
Travis Dumsday
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 4
Utopian Virtual Reality in Ready Player One: Responding with Real Hope and the Christian Teleos
John Paul Arceno
Union Community Bible Church

Chapter 5
A Confessional Lutheran Approach to Reading Film: Where the Metaphysical Meets the Phantasmagorical
Ted Giese
Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Chapter 6
Contact and the Incompatibility of Science and Religion
David Kyle Johnson
King’s College

Chapter 7
A Theology of Beauty in Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It
Justin McLendon
Grand Canyon University

Chapter 8
The Shape of Graves to Come: The Symbolic Meaning of Funerals and Tombs in Science Fiction Films
Stefano Bigliardi
Al Akhawayn University

Chapter 9
The Horror of Evil in Ridley Scott’s Alien Universe: Deriving Hope and Faith through Biblical Revelation and Wisdom Theology
Sarah Cameron
Taylor Seminary

Chapter 10
Bazin’s Metaphorical Theology of Cinema
Zeke Saber
University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts

Chapter 11
The Four-Tier Conversion of Filmic Space into Cinematic Space: A Study on Eat Pray Love
A. P. Anupama
KCG College of Technology
Vinod Balakrishnan
National Institute of Technology

Chapter 12
Love Can Thaw a Frozen Heart: The Philosophy of Love in Disney’s Frozen Films
Erin Archer
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 13
I am a Professional Actress not a Prostitute: The Nollywood “Porn Star” and Nigerian Conservatism
Floribert Patrick C. Endong
University of Dschang

Chapter 14
Zollywood and the Eclipse of Christianity by African Traditional Religion in Post-Colonial Zimbabwe
Robert Matikiti
Christ College

Chapter 15
Working Women and Rape Myths in Turkish Cinema between 1923-1996
Barıskan Ünal
Journalist and Independent Researcher
Barıskan Ünal
University of Kastamonu

Chapter 16
Aristotle at the Movies: Epistemic Virtue in Film
Jonathan Strand
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 17
King David as a Biblical “Goodfella” and “The Godfather”: Cultural-Social Analogies with Monarchy and La Cosa Nostra
William H. U. Anderson
Concordia University of Edmonton



William H. U. Anderson has a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Theology in Postmodern Literary Critical Circles from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Bill is Professor of Pop Culture and Religious Studies at Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. He has worked interdisciplinarily throughout his academic career, and this is his fourth edited volume with Vernon Press in the Philosophy of Religion series.

Aquinas, Cinema, Divine Revelation, Film-as-Philosophy, Mimetic Poetry, Myth, Phaedrus, Plato, Recognition-Criteria, Republic, Scorsese, Christ, Christianity, Depictions, Film, Jesus, Movies, Twenty-First Century, Church Fathers, Demons, Evil, Faith, Film Noir, Origen, Patristic, Sin, Spiritual Warfare, Suffering, Theodicy, Avatar, Deism, Digital Theology, Eschatological Hope, God is Dead, Kingdom of God, Nietzsche, Ready Player One, Teleos, Virtual Reality, Virtual World, Antinomianism, Censorship, Confessional Lutheranism, Christian Piety, Film, Film Theory and Criticism, Lutheran Confessions, Lutheran Theology, Methodology, Moral Absolutism, Reader-Response Criticism, Alief, Belief, Conflict Rule, Contact, Gould, Inference to the Best Explanation, NOMA, Mythical Faith, Philosophy of Science, Religious Experience, Sagan, Science vs. Religion, Aesthetics, Beauty, Beatific Vision, Nature, Norman Maclean, Sublime, Burial, Cremation, Dystopia, Extraterrestrials, Funeral, Funeral Rites, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi Films, Space Operas, Alien Films, Biblical Wisdom Literature, Cosmic Indifferentism, Creaturely Status, Faith, Fear, Horror, Lovecraft, Meaninglessness, Other, Restoration, Ridley Scott, Bazin, Critical Realism, Filmic Realismy, McFague, Metaphor, Neorealism, Ontology, Theology, Cinematic Space, Conversion, Filmic Space, India, Inside/Outside Space, Spectator, Agape, Disney, Eros, Frozen, Love, Narcissism, Philautia, Princess Narrative, Self-Love, Conservatism, Pornography, Nollywood, Nollywood Porn Stars, Pornographers, Pornophobia, Religiosity, Nudity, Sex Scene, African Traditional Religion, Christianity, Cinema, Cinematography, Culture, Film, Post-Colonial, Zollywood, Aristotle, Belief, Conflict, Epistemic, Epistemology, Evidentialism, Faith, Hope, Vice, Virtue, Feminist Film Theory, Film Analysis, Rape Myths, Rape Theme, Turkish Cinema, Working Woman, Workforce, Workplace, Ye?ilçam, Coppola, Divine Right of Kings, Extortion, Glamor, Godfather, Goodfellas, Ideological Criticism, La Cosa Nostra, Mafia, Monarchy, Organized Crime, Sacrosanct, Scorsese, Violence

See also

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Film, Philosophy and Religion





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date
April 2022