In another edition of Living Questions, our monthly series on the role of religion in the public sphere, which we produce in collaboration with the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, we take a look at depictions of religious faiths in movies and on television.
A lot has changed since Charlton Heston starred as Moses in the 1956 film The Ten Commandments. Show’s like Greenleaf on OWN take us behind the scenes at a Black Mega Church; HBO’s The Young Pope imagines an insurgent named Lenny Belardo rising to the Pontificate. How do these, and a host of other TV shows and movies feed our perceptions and even skepticism around organized religion? How does a movie like Silence, which tells the story of 17th century Jesuit Priests in Japan, help us understand religion in a historical context? How are we to appreciate the complexities of various faith traditions if directors and writers take artistic liberties in their story-telling?
Martin Shuster is the Director of Judaic Studies and an Assistant Professor at Goucher College. His forthcoming book is called New Television: The Aesthetics and Politics of a Genre. Christopher Llewellyn Reed is a film critic and the Chair of the Film & Moving Image Department at Stevenson University. They join Tom for the discussion.