This book has very complicated origins. It is clearly a divergence from my research to date, but is part of a lifelong fascination with and personal exploration of the concepts of faith and theology. Of course, I am only the editor, and I would like to thank all of my wonderful contributors for working hard and being a part of this with me. I would also like to thank Matthew Frost at Manchester University Press for supporting this project and helping to bring it to publication.
My family back in Virginia – Mom and Dad, Whitney and Catie – who are devout Christians, are an indispensable part of this journey for me. I should also give recognition to the Reverend Don Davidson, who spent a significant part of my adolescence and young adulthood in discussing these Bible stories (which endlessly fascinated me) and conceptions of faith with me. Thank you all for sparking this lasting interest.
This project started in the summer of 2016, when I first saw the trailer for Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur, a project which struck me as fascinating in concept. Unbeknownst to him, my good friend Kyle McCollum was sitting next to me as this project sparked a weird chain reaction in my brain, and Chiara Mestieri eventually accompanied me to see the movie later that year. Thank you both for being great cinema company. You never talk during the movie, as it should be. And when you do, you make it worth it.
I am incredibly lucky to have so many mentors, colleagues, and friends in this strange career who are tremendous inspirations to me personally and professionally. Some of these incredibly important people are: Stacey Abbott, Claire Barwell, Lucy Bennett, Todd Berliner, Paul Booth, Simon Brown, Jerry Peter DeMario, Rhio Evans, Zalfa Feghali, Hattie Fell, Steven Gerrard, Maren Hahnfeld, Tiana Harper, Nuampi Hatzaw, Bethan Jones, Joe Ketchum, Shellie McMurdo, Laura Mee, Ed Oliver, Alex Pearson, David Roche, Karra Shimabukuro, Andy Small, Sarah Taylor-Harman, Carol Walker, Johnny Walker, Tom Watson and many, many more.
I’d like to thank Tes and Isaac. They have been a source of continued enjoyment and intellectual stimulation. Tes and Isaac have joined me in fun over the last year and a bit (at the time of writing). They don’t quite ‘get’ what I do (or at least the way I do what I do (though Tes notably gave me some great editorial assistance)) but they have strongly encouraged it and I thank them for that.
This book is dedicated to two people. I’d first like to take a moment to honour the late Dr Laurence Raw. I never had the pleasure of meeting Laurence in person, but he has left a tremendous impact on my life. Laurence gave me my first shot at publication with a book review in the Journal of American Studies Turkey (JAST). We have since stayed in touch, and he has given me a tremendous amount of faith, encouragement and support in my burgeoning writing and publishing career. His faith gave me confidence. Laurence had a major impact on me, as I understand he did on a large number of academics, particularly in the area of Adaptation Studies, which this book clearly builds upon in some ways. Therefore, this book is in part for Laurence.
The other person I dedicate this book to, as I have my others, is my son, George. I can only say that he challenges me and brings me joy in every moment I have with him. I write this book for him, not only the financial benefits (which, let’s be honest, are likely to be fairly insignificant), but to enrich the environment around him – both around the house, and possibly even in the contribution to knowledge and understanding. Kid, you’re hilarious. You mean the world to me.