On asking questions, not assuming answers, about Noah

Brian Godawa has now updated his post on the Noah serpent — twice! — in response to posts of mine in which I debunked the claim that Noah is Gnostic and tried to untangle just what the snakeskin represents, both in Judaism and within the film specifically.

Brian’s a good guy, and he’s done a lot of research into the Noah story, and I have found his posts on that subject very informative. But when it comes to his analysis of Darren Aronofsky’s film, it seems to me that he has certain blind spots, or that he insists too strongly on filtering his experience of the film through a certain worldview without fully engaging with the film on its own terms.

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How I helped Jon Stewart get one of his Noah facts wrong

Of all the controversies that have swirled around Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, by far the dumbest is the one that erupted over the claim that the dialogue in this film never uses the word “God”.

Last night Jon Stewart tackled this subject in a segment called ‘Haters of the Lost Ark’. And along the way, he repeated a claim that I and others have made in the film’s defense — a claim that, I’m afraid, might have been mistaken.

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Noah interview round-up: co-writer Ari Handel

Two weeks ago, I posted a collection of interviews with Noah director Darren Aronofsky, and I have updated that post with new interview clips ever since. But in the meantime — especially as Aronofsky has gone overseas to promote the film — there have also been a number of interviews with his co-writer Ari Handel. So I figured I should start a post to collect those, too.

I interviewed Aronofsky and Handel together myself back in February, and I linked to a more recent interview with Handel in my post on the infamous snakeskin.

Handel was also featured prominently in a “faith leaders” video that I posted a couple weeks ago, and I have previously linked to interviews that he has done with Hollywood Jesus and Hugh Hewitt. See also the interviews that Handel and Aronofsky did together to promote the Noah graphic novel here, here and here.

And now for the new stuff. [Read more...]

Quick updates on The Leftovers and the Left Behind reboot

The Rapture stories told by Christians tend to fall into one of two camps: they are either intended to scare the reader or viewer into becoming a Christian, so that he or she will qualify for the Rapture and be spared the terrors of life under the Antichrist; or they are intended to give Christians a chance to do some tribal chest-thumping, as the characters who somehow become Christian after the Rapture actively do what they can to undermine the Antichrist and his evil regime.

Rarely do these stories actively try to empathize with the people who are “left behind” when the Rapture happens. (One of the reasons I love the Daniel Amos song ‘Lady Goodbye’ is because it does try to imagine what that experience would be like.) Lately, however, storytellers of a less obviously religious bent have begun to fill that gap.

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Muslim responses to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah

While flood stories are common to many ancient mythologies, the story of Noah per se first appears in the Book of Genesis, which is common to the Jewish and Christian scriptures. So it goes without saying that Christians and Jews have been actively debating the merits of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah since before the film came out two weeks ago.

But the story of Noah is also central to the Muslim faith; there is even an entire sura devoted to him in the Koran. Despite this, there hasn’t been much talk about Muslim responses to the film, at least not in my news feeds, apart from some mention of the fact that certain Muslim countries have banned the film while certain other countries haven’t.

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Noah news round-up: a new TV spot, an update on which Muslim countries are banning the film, and more

Noah has been out in theatres for almost two weeks now, but that doesn’t mean the news around this film has died down yet. There’s a new TV spot that quotes some of the more positive reviews out there, the people behind popular Bible apps and websites say interest in Genesis has gone up, and we have an update on which Muslim countries are and are not banning the film. Check it all out below the jump.

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