Theology and Cinema – CINE 340

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course explores the use of theology in cinema. As an introductory course, it seeks to answer the questions that many Christians face about movies as an artistic medium. Namely, “How should Christians view cinematic arts?” The course will also focus on helping students approach movies with the eyes of a theologian. Specifically, it will instruct students to evaluate and interpret movies from a theological/philosophical perspective. Part of this will involve viewing specific movies and exegeting them to see what they reveal about culture and truth.

Prerequisites

None

Rationale

The arts have historically been one of, if not the, major factor that influences culture. This is especially the case with cinematic arts. This reality has spawned a variety of responses by the church, both negative and positive. With this in view, this course aims to analyze the influence of theology in movies in order to help the student form a biblical attitude towards creative expression. It is also the aim of this course to allow the student to investigate ways in which Christians can use movies to positively influence culture.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Evaluate and analyze various theological and philosophical themes in movies, both Christian and non-Christian.
  2. Produce a rationale and defense for Christian involvement in movie making.
  3. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the major influence that cinema has had on culture.

Course Assignment

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

The student will post a thread of 300–400 words in length in response to the provided prompt. The student will then post a reply of 100–200 words in length to 2 classmates’ threads for each forum. All forums must be supported by course content, outside materials, and/or Scripture references using current MLA formatting. Each Discussion Board forum is due by the end of the module/week in which it is assigned.

Movie Reviews (2)

The student will write two 3–5-page reviews in current MLA format for 2 of the selected movies from a provided list. The student is to put himself/herself in the seat of a movie critic and offer detailed reviews of the movies watched.

Movie Paper

The student will pick 1 of the movies not yet reviewed and exegete it, pointing out theological and philosophical themes that are present therein. Then, the student will construct an apologetic based on that film or 1 aspect of that movie. The Movie Paper must be 7–8 pages in length and written in current MLA format and contain at least 2 credible sources. (Note: Wikipedia, Bible, or others not recognized as academic sources are not accepted.)

Course Project

Based on research and reading for the class, the student will write a 8–10-page rationale/philosophy for Christian involvement in cinematic arts. This paper is to be a personal philosophy of cinema as well as a defense for the student’s own view of cinema written in current MLA format. Paper should contain at least 5 credible sources. (Wikipedia, Bible, or others not recognized as academic sources are not accepted.)