Category Archives: media

The Logos Free Book (But Not a Book this Time) of the Month

Here.

A Movie About Paul is Coming In 2018

Oh boy…  (said in the same tone one would hear from a man were one to overhear that man being told he has to have a vasectomy as he voiced his reaction…)

Affirm Films, who are the faith-based branch of Sony have announced that they are currently filming a new movie about the apostle Paul due for release next year. Affirm are also currently putting the finishing touches on The Star ahead of its 10th November release later in the year.

Paul, Apostle of Christ will star James Faulkner in the leading role, supported by Passion of the Christs Jim Caviezel as Luke,  A.D. The Bible Continues‘ Joanna Whalley as Priscilla, and The Fall’s John Lynch as Aquilla. Lynch also starred as Gabriel in the BBC’s The Passion (2010). Interestingly the IMDb also lists Yorgos Karamihos as playing Saul of Tarsus, suggesting there might be a bit of a jump between Paul’s ministry to the Jews and his ministry to the Gentiles.

Oh boy (snip)…

An Interview About a Film About Zwingli

With Anne Walser:

Frau Walser, die Firma C-Films plant für dieses Jahr einen Film über Huldrich Zwingli. Wann starten Sie mit den Dreharbeiten?

Die eigentlichen Dreharbeiten werden innerhalb von sieben Wochen ab Februar 2018 stattfinden, damit eine Weltpremiere des Filmes im Januar 2019 stattfinden kann – genau fünfhundert Jahre zuvor hat Zwingli seine Stelle als Leutpriester am Grossmünster angetreten. Die Vorbereitungen laufen aber jetzt schon auf Hochtouren. Es ist ein sehr ambitiöses Projekt, Zürich im Mittelalter darstellen zu wollen. Neben Zürich werden wir auch in Stein am Rhein, das noch über eine vollkommen erhaltene mittelalterliche Altstadt verfügt, drehen.

And

2019 findet das Zwingli-Jahr statt. Spüren Sie dadurch ein grösseres Interesse an Ihrem Projekt?

Unbedingt gewinnt der Film damit eine Aktualität. Europa würdigt in den kommenden Jahren mit einer Vielzahl unterschiedlichster Aktivitäten die Welt der Reformation. Der Film «Zwingli – der Reformator» wird dabei sicherlich das grosse Highlight im Reigen dieser Aktionen werden: Wir machen Historie nachhaltig erlebbar und greifbar. Generationenübergreifend und für jedermann zugänglich wird Zwinglis einzigartiger Werdegang beschrieben: eine starke, in der Öffentlichkeit neu und differenziert wahr-genommene Figur.

And more.  I. Can’t. Wait.

Storm: Luther’s Forbidden Letter

When his father is arrested for printing a forbidden letter written by controversial reformer Martin Luther, 12-year-old Storm escapes with the original. On the run from authorities, Storm finds unexpected help from Maria, a young girl who lives in the city’s underground tunnels. In a race against time, Storm tries to save his father from execution and get the letter into safe hands. But whom can he trust? What starts out as a fearful flight becomes a bold fight for freedom.

My assessment of this really delightful film (in its subtitled version) is posted here.  The link in the paragraph above is to the English version of the movie.

I assure you, you’ll love it.

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World

I previewed this film and took part in a panel discussion some months back.  You’ll enjoy it, even though there are a few bits that are inaccurate.  Nonetheless, the good far outweighs the bad.

Check your local listings.  In the Eastern time zone it airs at 8 PM tonight on your local PBS station.

http://player.pbs.org/viralplayer/3003952683/

Storm and Luther’s Forbidden Letter

I mentioned this film some time ago and was very pleased to watch a subtitled version and review it.  Now, brilliantly, the producers and distributors have made an English version!

When his father is arrested for printing a forbidden letter written by controversial reformer Martin Luther, 12-year-old Storm escapes with the original. On the run from authorities, Storm finds unexpected help from Maria, a young girl who lives in the city’s underground tunnels. In a race against time, Storm tries to save his father from execution and get the letter into safe hands. But whom can he trust? What starts out as a fearful flight becomes a bold fight for freedom.

You owe it to yourself to watch this film!  It’s one of the best dramatizations of life in Luther’s day that has yet been produced.

To Have Integrity, Journalists Need to Connect With Academics

This is a very fine reminder for journalists to deepen their work through academic connections.  And a very much needed one at that.

A[s] this year alone would highlight, in this current age of post-truth, in order to maintain the journalistic standard that Sir Charles Wheeler set out – one  of “integrity, authority, humanity and evidence” – academic research is vital.

Read it all.

#ICYMI – How Not To Do Your First Day at a New Teaching Job

A new teacher in Wagoner, Oklahoma, was arrested on her first day after she showed up at the school both drunk and without pants.  Hill was interviewed by police and admitted she’d been drinking.  A search of her car turned up an empty cup that reportedly smelled of vodka.

hill

Via WATE TV 6

For some reason I don’t imagine Lorie Hill will be ‘teacher of the year’.  Now if she lived in Texas, it would be another matter altogether.

 

Financing for the Zwingli Film has been Secured

This is good news.

«Zwingli – der Reformator» wird der Spielfilm heissen, der 2019 in die Kinos kommen soll. Nun hat die Zürcher Produktionsfirma C-Films dem 5,7-Millionen-Vorhaben grünes Licht gegeben, wie das «St. Galler Tagblatt» schreibt. Finanziert wird der Film neben der Förderung durch das Bundesamt für Kultur, die Evangelische Landeskirche des Kantons Zürich und das Schweizer Fernsehen SRF auch durch ein Crowdfunding.

Can’t wait.

Storm: Letter of Fire – My Review

The good folk who produced it have allowed me to review their very new film.

The technical details first:

  • Screenplay: Karen Holst Pellekaan
  • Director: Dennis Bots
  • Producers: Harro van Staverden Petra Goedings, Phanta Basta!
  • Co initiator: REFO500 Karla Apperloo, Herman Selderhuis
  • Coproducers: Iris Productions (LUX), Bulletproof Cupid (BE), NTR (NL)
  • Line Producer: Michiel Bartels
  • Cast: Davy Gomez, Juna de Leeuw, Yorick van Wageningen, Angela Schijf, Maarten Heijmans, Egbert Jan Weeber
  • Distributor NL: Dutch Filmworks
  • Release NL: January 2017

Very few historical dramas which have as their subject matter the beginnings of the Lutheran Reformation are as wonderfully produced as this fantastic film.  From the reconstruction of the 16th century cities to the costume design to the set decorations to the printing presses and everything in between this is a visual feast.  It’s, and I don’t used this word often or lightly, gorgeous.

The acting is superb and the dialogue is gripping and engaging.  The film is in Dutch but it is subtitled in English and those with a fairly good grasp of German will be able to follow much of the Dutch dialogue since the two languages overlap in numerous places.  But even those with only English will not lose a moment of the story as they read along.

Most important of all, at least for persons who care about historical accuracy, is the fact that the film brilliantly and thoroughly both grasps and exhibits a profound understanding of how the early years of the Reformation affected individual families.  Indeed, one of the highlights of the film is the tension provoked in nuclear families when mother and father have differing takes on subjects such as indulgences and purgatory.  Luther’s ideas caught on with some members of households and not others.  The dynamic interplay such a reality caused in houses is the highlight of the movie.

Historical accuracy was also on full display in the scenes depicting the printer’s workshop.  Printing was arduous, dirty, and often dangerous work.  And that fact is faithfully depicted.

The story told is of a young man, Storm, whose father was a printer and who found himself sympathetic with and willing to print materials by the outlaw Luther.  Arrested for his crime by the local authorities, the young man, and an exceedingly charming and delightful young female ‘street urchin’ he befriends have to do what they can to rescue Storm’s father.

It’s a lovely telling with a historically accurate and faithful delivery in wondrous cinematography the likes of which the best Hollywood blockbusters can’t match.  If you have the opportunity to see this film, you should.  It is worthy both of two thumbs up, five stars, and all the other accolades the critics award, and an Oscar too for Best Foreign Film of 2017.  At least as far as I’m concerned.

The Whininess of Reza Aslan

RNS has an interesting essay on the academic response to Reza Aslan’s CNN special series on religion (the first episode of which I watched and really disliked) titled Reza Aslan and the ‘pettiness of academia’.  In short, Aslan attributes the scholarly reaction to ‘pettiness’.  In reality, he should stick to sociology, his chosen field, because as a scholar of religion he’s been weighed in the balances and found to be very wanting.

People who don’t know anything about religion like his special, in the same way that people who don’t know anything about the Bible like ‘bible specials’ and movies like ‘Noah’ and ‘The Shack’.  What needs to be remembered is that the fact that someone likes something doesn’t mean that what they like is real or true.  Likability, in other words, isn’t a criterion of facticity.

Aslan’s upset at academics because he wants approval.  Truth and accuracy, on the other hand, are not quite within his field of vision.

Anyway, the essay linked above says it fairly well-

After a six-week run, Reza Aslan’s “spiritual adventure” series “Believer” completed its first season. Although we don’t yet know if CNN will approve a second season, one thing is certain: Scholars of religion didn’t really care for it.

Some have criticized it for sensationalizing religion for the sake of ratings (including myself over at my YouTube channel). Others have accused Aslan of conducting sloppy research and failing to cite leading experts of the religions he chose to showcase.

Still others argued he transgressed basic religious studies methodology, trading in his role as a neutral scholar of religion for the role of a “spiritual guide” or “retailer of import goods.”

Etc.

#ICYMI: NT Wright Ascends to Heaven From Bible Conference in Houston!

Witnesses say that just before he was seen to fly skyward without a rocket pack, he spread out his arms, and then up he went, shouting ‘buy my giant book which is very much like all my other less giant books or the wrath of God will descend onto your unrighteous heads… sinners…’

wright_ascends

Witness stories diverge at this point but many swear that as he disappeared out of sight through a giant hole in the ceiling created by the hurling of his new book through it that he was received either by Chuck Norris or Ryan Seacrest.

He promised to return.  Oh that we will all still be alive when he does…  Meanwhile, many will come in his name, proclaiming his gospel and urging souls to follow Tom’s teachings (also known as TT).  If you want to get to heaven, and spend eternity with Tom, you have to embrace TT.

The New Equinox App

This is pretty cool-

Dear Religious Studies Authors and Editors
Exciting news!

Ebooks are now available to order from the Equinox website (www.equinoxpub.com) and this week we have just launched our new Equinox app which you can download from your app store.

Take advantage of all kinds of discounts and free downloads, including:

* previews of forthcoming books
* our best discounts on print books, eBooks and journal subscriptions
* Read for free ‘eBooks’ of the week 
* free ‘virtual’ thematic issues drawing on content from across our publications
* special offers for conference participants
* conference schedules including abstracts for selected events 

Content is updated daily. Don’t miss out!

Valerie Hall

By the way- if you go to the app store to find the Equinox app, be sure to search for ‘Equinox publishing’ or you won’t find it.

If You’re in The Knoxville Area… A Film About the Reformation and a Panel Discussion

“Big news! St Paul Lutheran Church in Wartburg, TN will host a movie PREMIERE on March 4. Join us at 6:15pm for reception and open house and the screening to follow at 7pm. This much anticipated film has not yet been released so come here to get the first look!”

There will also be a discussion of the movie afterwards the panel of which will include yours truly and David Graves. All are invited.

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Don’t worry, all partisan Lutheran errors will be pointed out.

 

‘The Shack’

Public notice: ‘The Shack’ is not Christian theology.  It’s imaginary Hollywoodism.  If you get your theology from Hollywood, well you’re nuts.

Luther and the Reformation

Rick Steves narrates.  I haven’t watched it yet so I can’t vouch for it.  If it’s wrong, you’ll know it.  He narrates travel shows so there’s no guarantee he knows anything about Luther or the Reformation.

#PrayForChristophsBook

There are monsters in the world.  Monsters who think books are coasters.  Wicked monsters.  #PrayForChristophsBook.  Pray it be delivered from the monster who thinks it’s a coaster.

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This is How Stupid the Huffington Post Is

stupid

If you get your religion news from the HuffPo, you’re as bad, if not worse, than the people who get their political news exclusively from Fox News.

‘Secrets’ of Noah’s Ark…

The program isn’t on Discovery, it’s on PBS!

In 1948, a British pilot serving in Iraq acquired a clay tablet with an intriguing, 3,700 year-old inscription. The ancient writing tells the story of how the god Enki warns a Sumerian king named Atra-Hasis of a future flood that will destroy mankind; Enki gives him instructions for building a boat to save his family and livestock. If that sounds like a familiar tale, it’s because this was one of several ancient flood traditions that, centuries later, would inspire the biblical story of Noah. But the tablet’s inscription describes a boat very different from the traditional image of the Ark—it’s said to be circular and made of reeds. Is this nothing more than a fanciful myth? Or could such a reed boat have carried Atra-Hasis’ family of more than one hundred and his many animals? Join NOVA as a team of historians and expert boat builders investigates this fascinating flood legend and sets out to rebuild a tantalizing, ancient forerunner of the Ark.  Watch the Program – Watch the entire program streaming online for a limited time (four weeks) starting December 21.

Does Google Empower Racists?

On the twitter-

Christopher Ingraham – @_cingraham – Everyone likes to make fun of @bing, but compare their results to @Google’s on this. Microsoft deserves a lot of credit for this.

And then take a look at the Google search phrase and first result-

1

And now Bing’s result

2

Which result tends to racism?  Google’s.  Ingraham is right- Microsoft deserves more credit than it often gets.  Maybe it’s time to change search engines.