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Tarantino And Theology Paperback – June 8, 2015
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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Several titles were especially salient and helpful in this regard. Josh Corman writes a very good piece which examines the ways in which Tarantino’s most recent films “recognize our need for a savior, some entity who can account for the world’s evils, engage them, and rectify them,” and how Tarantino as director positions himself as the required Messiah. However, Corman argues that in both Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, Tarantino’s preferred method of justice, a “particularly gruesome form of retributive justice…fails to meet the standard of restorative justice exemplified by Christ.” Instead of using Tarantino to think about theology, Russell Hemati turns the tables in an essay that very much helped me understand the principles (including theological principles) operative in Reservoir Dogs. Within the minutiae of dialogue and plot, Hemati impressively shows how principles found in Saint Augustine’s Confessions can help “better understand the interplay of characters…and show the concept of masculinity as the principle means” by which the film’s main characters come together. Philip Tallon’s “On Death Proof” is a brisk and engaging dialogue that analyzes the ethics of watching morally suspect movies, and argues that moral problems “detract from the greatness of a work, even if they don’t destroy its value completely.” He argues that “whenever we are interacting with anything as complex as a movie, we bring our whole person to its appreciation. If there are moral problems then there are aesthetic problems. If categories like right and wrong are relevant in any way to the work of art, then those categories are relevant in our evaluation of the work.”
Finally, I can foresee this book’s benefits for the socially-minded dinner guest—whether with unbelievers, discussing Tarantino in a more substantive, thoughtful way, or in scandalizing more modest fellow Christians by showing—as Jonathan Walls writes in the Introduction—that if Christian theology is correct, and God created all things, then “there will be traces of theological truth to be found everywhere, including some surprising places.”