I would have been delighted to chat with Paul Driscoll no matter what – we are both interested in Doctor Who and theology. I mean deeply interested in matters of Whovian theology. But in our conversations prior to the recording of the podcast, Paul made me aware of a series that hasn’t received anywhere near as much attention as it deserves to have in the United States, namely “The Black Archive.” This series from Obverse Books offers volumes each on a specific episode of Doctor Who. There are a lot of them, and a lot more that still need to be written. I hope to manage to contribute to the series at some point in the future. Paul’s volume on “The God Complex” in that series is particularly interesting for anyone interested in Doctor Who’s treatment of religious themes.
Before I proceed further, I also want to mention the annual Butler University “Day of Giving” which starts today, and will actually run for 1855 minutes (since the university was founded in 1855). Butler University has done so much to support my research and teaching in every area, including some that other institutions might look askance at such as Doctor Who, that I felt that it was unnecessary to do a separate “Day of Giving” post. If you appreciate the work I do on Doctor Who, other science fiction franchises, the New Testament, the historical Jesus, the Mandaeans, or anything else, then please do give something to Butler University today. Your gift, however small, will be immensely appreciated. Here’s the link to my own personal “Day of Giving” portal: https://butler.scalefunder.com/amb/religionprof
If you read my blog without using adblocking software, and circulate things that I write among your connections by whatever means, you already do something to support me personally. If you appreciate the work that I do, however, keep in mind that it is made possible by my being employed by Butler University to teach and research about these topics. I use a sound booth that they provide to record my podcasts. I use library resources galore. Butler University supports my work in so many wonderful ways. Today I’m asking you to support them, as a way of expressing appreciation for all they do for me. You can specify a particular area that you feel strongly about supporting, such as our libraries, our Center for Academic Technology, the Religion program, our Center for Faith and Vocation, and many more. If you have no personal preference, feel free to say that you’d like the money to go to an important program that is helping to get our new Social Justice and Diversity requirement in the core curriculum up and running: the Social Justice and Diversity Vocational Fellowship. Here is some more information about that program:
The Social Justice and Diversity Vocational Fellowship is a newly established initiative designed to help Butler students connect their passions and future direction to some of our most complex global challenges. This program provides faculty development for designing new courses on social justice and diversity that infuse vocational reflection into these required courses, which will allow students to draw connections from their course materials to their own sense of purpose. In partnership with the Center for Faith and Vocation, Butler Internship and Career Services, and the Social Justice and Diversity Core Curriculum Requirement, funding has been secured by the Network for Vocational Undergraduate Education through the Council of Independent Colleges and the Lilly Endowment, Inc. We are striving to raise a $24,000 match in order to sustain the second and third year of this program and unlock an additional $10,000 from NetVUE. By donating to this initiative, you are helping Butler faculty design courses that will encourage students to identify themselves as difference makers in some of our most complex social justice and diversity challenges. Please click https://butler.scalefunder.com/amb/Netvue on February 27 – 28 and donate!
You can use the link provided to be taken to a page specifically for those wishing to give to support that program. Or you can just specify that program as where you’d like some or all of your gift to Butler University to go if you are on the main Day of Giving page. Either way, I am extremely grateful for anyone who gives to Butler University, because I am extremely grateful to Butler University. Not every professor has the freedom to research and teach about subjects like Doctor Who, and that is all the more true of professors who specialize in New Testament as the focus of their doctoral research. Of course, one can call Who-focused research “doctoral research” as well, if one is feeling punny, as I usually am. But it is because Butler University is so passionate about student learning that it values the core curriculum, interdisciplinarity, public scholarship, and so many other things. It is Butler University’s mission that makes my own work possible, and my own work in turn is serving that mission. Thank you for supporting both, because supporting one supports the other.
Which allows for a natural segue back to the main central theme of this post and of this week’s ReligionProf Podcast. First, here is a review of one of the books in the “Black Archive” series that may persuade you to buy/read at least one to start with, but probably sooner or later a whole bunch…
Since Paul and I talk in the podcast about the place of ancient myths in modern storytelling (a regular feature on Doctor Who, including of course the minotaur in “The God Complex”), this also seems like an appropriate place to link to the piece that ASOR published online in January, about ancient Mesopotamian myths and modern comic books/superheroes. And to recommend checking out the Digital Hammurabi YouTube channel.
Of related interest to engaging with the substance of science fiction, here’s an article in WIRED about using AI to help you find science fiction stories to read, a podcast about Phillip K. Dick and the multiverse, Martin LaBar on C. S. Lewis’ space trilogy, as well as two calls for papers, one on dystopia and utopia, the other on Stanley Kubrick, both shared below.
Also have a listen to Pete Enns’ podcast on the Bible and film. It is not specifically about Doctor Who or even science fiction, but it still relates to the present topic at least slightly. And who knows, perhaps one day it will relate more directly. Is it surprising that there hasn’t been a Doctor Who movie since the non-canonical Peter Cushing ones? Are we overdue for a Doctor Who motion picture of some sort? Would it work, or by this stage can one not make a film that would be accessible to people who have never seen the show, without boring longtime fans in the process?