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Jesus of Hollywood Hardcover – January 27, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While many books have explored the translation of biblical scenes and characters to film, most of those have been by film critics; Reinhartz has something new to offer as a New Testament scholar. Here she analyzes the depictions of Jesus from the earliest silent films all the way through Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (which, she says, portrays Jesus more as a "hunk of raw meat" than a man). She includes weighty, reverent biopics (by Franco Zeffirelli and Roberto Rossellini) and more iconoclastic and controversial treatments (Jesus of Montreal and The Last Temptation of Christ), with appreciative nods in the direction of satirical spoofs like Monty Python's Life of Brian. This is a fascinating topic, and the book is full of perceptive observations, but the organization is workmanlike, with Reinhartz introducing a subject, explaining how that topic is treated in the Gospels, and then calling forth examples of how that topic is addressed from film to film. This makes the book an excellent reference for those readers who want information about one or two themes at a time, but frustratingly repetitive for those reading the book straight through. (Jan.)
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"Rich with insights drawn from years of research and teaching in biblical and film studies, Reinhartz's book is a gift to scholars and students alike. It's a must-read in the growing field of religion and film." --Timothy K. Beal, co-editor of Mel Gibson's Bible: Religion, Popular Culture, and The Passion of the Christ

"Reinhartz's discussion of the Jesuses of Hollywood focuses on the filmic treatment of the main scriptural characters who played roles in the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. She shows that the 'reel' Jesus invariably conflicts with, or is unsupported by, scriptural and historical evidence. This highly readable book documents her conviction that rather than offering accurate and engaging representations of the 'real Jesus,' Jesus biopics act as mirrors that reflect the concerns of the times in which they were produced and circulated in first-run theaters." --Margaret R. Miles, author of Seeing and Believing: Religion and Values in the Movies

"This illuminating book will be of interest to those who, like myself, avoid the movies but read the Gospels. It will be even more important for those who enjoy the movies but are curious about the extent to which they are based on ancient Christian literature. Enjoyment of watching will be increased by awareness of the ways in which the Jesus movies relate to the time in which they were made. The lesson that works of historical fiction, such as biopics, are written and enacted with current issues in mind cannot be repeated too often." -- E. P. Sanders, author of Jesus and Judaism and The Historical Figure of Jesus

"This book will be of interest to scholars of the Bible and film and would be particularly useful as a text for courses in cinematic representations of Jesus." --Toronto Journal of Theology

"An insightful resource for scholars focused upon questions of adaptation. ...[Reinhartz's] prose is well-documented but fluid throughout. Jesus of Hollywood represents one of the most approachable and informative volumes in teh expanding field of 'religion and film.'" --Christianity and Literature

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More About the Author

Adele Reinhartz is Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa in Canada. Her main areas of research are the Gospel of John, early Jewish-Christian relations, feminist criticism, and, most recently, the Bible and Film. She is the author of numerous articles and several books, including "Why Ask My Name?" Anonymity and Identity in Biblical Narrative (Oxford, 1998), Befriending the Beloved Disciple: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John (Continuum, 2001), and Scripture on the Silver Screen (Westminster John Knox, 2003). Her most recent book is a study of the Jesus movies, entitled Jesus of Hollywood (Oxford, 2007). She is currently completing a book on Caiaphas the High Priest, in History, Historiography, and Culture, with support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Adele was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 2005.

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