Exploring tensions between the secular and the sacred in Noah, the ‘least biblical biblical movie ever’

Conservative commentators have long criticised the film industry’s alleged negative representations or outright rejection of religion, accusing Hollywood of promoting its own secular, liberal ideology regardless of the wishes of a predominantly faith-orientated audience. Within academia the study of religion and film is an emerging area of interest, one that remains dominated by writers working in the fields of theology, biblical studies and religious studies. Why is this? To what extent can secularisation theory be used as a way of understanding the historical lack of involvement of film studies scholars in the field? How might the controversy surrounding Noah’s perceived ‘atheist’ adaptation be used as a way of understanding broader tensions between religious and non-religious elements in Hollywood and the academy? Through analysis of the controversy surrounding the interpretation and adaptation of scripture in Noah, this chapter reflects on the position of film studies scholarship in the emerging and developing multidisciplinary field of religion and film.

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium