From High Culture to Popular Culture and Film

Jonathan Brant

in Paul Tillich and the Possibility of Revelation through Film

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199639342
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738098 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

From High Culture to Popular Culture and Film

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This chapter provides a theoretical justification for the application of Tillich’s theology to the medium of film. This work is necessary because Tillich was very much a theologian of high culture and had very little interest in popular culture. The first section argues that one common approach to Tillich’s theology fails to distinguish between two senses of the word ‘religion’ in his writings and, therefore, wrongly assumes that his method of correlation is too positivist with respect to revelation, doctrine and religious institutions. A more nuanced reading is then offered. The second section of the chapter begins with a survey of religion-film scholars’ approaches to Tillich’s thought before offering an extended thought experiment drawing on the works of Bazin and Kracauer suggesting that the unique characteristics of film give it precisely the kind of breakthrough potential that Tillich associated with his most-favoured art-form, expressionist painting.

Keywords: Tillich; film; high culture; popular culture; correlation; revelation; Bazin; Kracauer; religion and film; expressionism

Chapter.  14203 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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