Journal of Religion and Film

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The Journal of Religion and Film  
Edited by Michele Desmarais
Publication details
Publisher
Publication history
1997-present
Frequency 2 per year
Indexing
ISSN 1092-1311
Links

The Journal of Religion and Film is an online, academic journal that "examines the description, critique, and embodiment of religion in film". Dr. William L. Blizek and the late Dr. Ronald Burke, both professors in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, founded the journal in 1997.

They became interested in the subject of religion and film after hearing Father Andrew Greeley, author and sociologist, speak about images of God in popular movies. Following his discussion, they rented the films of which he had spoken, trying to see if they, too, could find the images of God. "Sometimes we did, and sometimes we did not, but in either case we found the consideration of religion and movies to be fascinating and enjoyable," the professors stated in an April 1997 editorial.[1] The next step was to offer a course at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

"Our discussions were lively and intellectually stimulating in ways that the discussions in other classes were not, and so we wanted to continue to explore issues of religion and film. Unfortunately, there was no single source we could turn to in order to find out what others were thinking and saying about religion and film. The result of this is the establishment of The Journal of Religion and Film", they wrote.

The Journal was put online for a number of reasons. First, they believed that by using the Internet, they would reach more readers from a variety of academic backgrounds. After all, religion and film is a very interdisciplinary field. Second, they felt that it allowed for better interaction between authors and readers. And third, they wanted the possibility of using film clips to demonstrate points made by the writers. The first issue included four essays provided by Father Greeley, Dr. Carl Greiner, a psychiatrist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center3; Dr. Mike Gillespie, philosophy professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; and Dr. Gregory Robbins.

As the Journal evolved, discussion moved from statements about specific organized religions to the intersections between religion and film. Contributors have looked at how films make comment on popular "myths," how films that seem to be about particular religions might be interpreted in terms of religion in general, how films can be used to teach religion, and even how watching a film itself can create a religious experience.

Although "art house," foreign and English language, films such as Babette's Feast and Adam's Apples, have been discussed in the Journal, scholars have also turned their attention to blockbuster films, such as Armageddon and Backdraft. In addition to articles, the Journal includes book reviews, short film reviews, and an annual report from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The Journal of Religion and Film is more than just a place where scholars express their opinion about films. It provides a forum where readers and authors can interact. It is published twice a year: in April and October. The current editor is Dr. Michele Desmarais.[2] Associate editors are Julien R. Fielding,[3] Dr. Guy Matalon,[4] and Dr. Paul Allen Williams.[5] Dr. Ruby Ramji[6] is the film editor, the managing editor is Kathryn Cox Schwartz[7] and Dr. William L. Blizek serves as Founding editor and advisor for the Journal.[8]

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