No, Noah is not Gnostic. (Say that ten times fast!)

Thanks to a lengthy blog post by Brian Mattson, a theologian with the the Center for Cultural Leadership in California, the latest meme to work its way into public discussion of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is that the film is somehow Gnostic, and that it presents a worldview in which God is really Satan and vice versa.

Is there anything to Mattson’s claims? Not really, and here’s why.

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Noah news round-up: a big opening in South Korea, a look at the Jewish myths behind the film, and more

Well what do you know, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is already playing in theatres and raking in the big bucks… in South Korea.

Various sources are reporting that the film opened there on Thursday (which might mean yesterday, given that it’s on the other side of the international date line), and that its first-day gross was on par with that of films like Gravity and Inception. I imagine those particular examples are cited because they were big hits that, like Noah, did not have the advantage of being sequels or part of a franchise.

Amusingly, The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the film owes part of its success to the fact that South Korea “has a large Christian population”, while Variety notes that “a large percentage of the South Korean population is agnostic”. Well, there’s no reason the film couldn’t be playing to both audiences.

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Ridley Scott on the “very modern” monotheism of Moses

There’s a new article about Ridley Scott’s Exodus in Première magazine, and it has some interesting new details about the film and the way Scott, an agnostic, is approaching the story of Moses. My French is a little rusty, but with a little help from Google Translate, I was able to glean this much from the article:
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Ridley Scott to explore whether Moses was agnostic, etc.

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly has an article on ‘Hollywood’s New Holy War’. The hook for the story is the three Bible movies coming out this year, but the story itself takes a broader look at how movie studios have been openly courting the Christian demographic ever since the surprise success of The Passion of the Christ ten years ago.

Sometimes, as the article notes, the studios’ efforts have been pretty successful (The Chronicles of Narnia, The Blind Side), and sometimes they have been… not so successful (The Nativity Story, Evan Almighty).

But what catches my eye is a sidebar on Ridley Scott’s life-of-Moses movie Exodus, which has a couple of new quotes from Scott and Christian Bale:
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Ridley Scott’s “unconventional depiction of God” in Exodus

Many blogs were quick to note The Hollywood Reporter’s story today on the making of Noah. Few if any, however, noted a sidebar to the Reporter story which gave a nod to the other two Bible movies coming out this year, i.e. Son of God and Ridley Scott’s Exodus.

The sidebar doesn’t offer much new info about either of those films, but it does include this bit about Exodus: “Details are scarce, but sources tell THR that Scott, an avowed agnostic, has chosen an unconventional depiction of God in the film. If so, it faces the same challenge in wooing religious audiences as Noah does.”

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Bale charges into battle as Moses in new Exodus pic

When Ridley Scott’s life-of-Moses movie Exodus was first announced five years ago — long before Scott himself became involved with the movie — it was pitched as a “visually stunning action piece” that would owe as much to films like 300 and Braveheart as it did to any of the more conventional versions of this story.

So far, though, there has been a lack of action in the pictures we have seen from this film. All of the unauthorized pictures have shown Moses (played by Christian Bale) and others standing on the set, and the one authorized picture released a few weeks ago showed him sitting on a horse.

That changes now with Entertainment Weekly’s 2014 preview, which the Christian Bale fansite Baleheads Blog has scanned and posted for our benefit:

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