Saving the World and Healing the Soul

Saving the World and Healing the Soul

by David Matzko McCarthy, Kurt E. Blaugher


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Saving the World and Healing the Soul treats the heroic and redemptive trials of Jason Bourne, Bruce Wayne, Bella Swan, and Katniss Everdeen. The Bourne films, Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the Twilight saga, and the Hunger Games series offer us stories to live into, to make connection between our personal loves and trials and a good order of the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498219501
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2017
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

David McCarthy has over twenty years of experience teaching theology and ethics. More to the point, he has been teaching a course on theology and film since 2008. For the last four years, he has been developing the course by drawing on Kurt's expertise. David contributed a chapter to the Cascade book on theology and The Wire, and he is currently writing for Cascade's forthcoming collection on Mad Men.

Kurt Blaugher has been teaching theater in a liberal arts curriculum for thirty years. He has engaged with theologians and theological analysis for nearly as many years by teaching within Mount St. Mary's strong, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Recently, he has written on ways that dramatic narrative and theatrical performance shape moral perspectives: "Stirring Hearts and Minds," in Where Justice and Mercy Meet (2013).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Hero, the World, and the Soul 1

Film Synopses and Popular/Critical Reception

The Bourne Series 7

Nolan's Batman Trilogy 12

The Twilight Saga 19

The Hunger Games Series 26

Chapter 2 Bourne's Identity 32


Bourne 4: Jason Bourne 57

The Sympathetic Serial Killer 60

The Moral, and Religious World of Jason Bourne 63

Chapter 3 Batman's Quest 66


The Stuff of Romance and Why Rachel Has to Die 91

Aristotelian Virtue and Batman's Moral Quest 94

Chapter 4 Bella's Ascension 97


The Good Guys: The Cullens Are Good Americans 123

Nineteenth-Century Romanticism and the Moral World of the Twilight Saga 124

Chapter 5 Katniss's Rebellion 127


The Hero and the Heroine: Are Their Quests Different? 157

The Moral World of The Hunger Games 160

Chapter 6 How It All Ends 162

Film Bibliography 175

Index 179

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This book goes much deeper than analyzing The Jason Bourne movies, Christopher Nolan's Batman series, Twilight, and the films based on the Hunger Games books. McCarthy and Blaugher reveal how our expectations about courage, heroism, and salvation are determined by these films. More importantly, they give readers reasons to hold onto ideas of hope, justice, and love in our overly complex world. This is required reading for students of cultural studies, film studies, gender studies, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and theology."

—Jacob L. Goodson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Southwestern College

"This engaging volume points to the power of stories and the hero's journey in these unstable and uncertain times. Though not always favorites among critics, the films profiled herein have caught the public's imagination by serving as windows into basic questions of our humanity and providing touchstones for a society searching for order and meaning. Through attention to romance, love, redemption, and the hero's quest to navigate the forces of good and evil, Saving the World and Healing the Soul makes a compelling case for the action blockbuster as a religious narrative for the twenty-first century."

—Ann W. Duncan, Associate Professor of Religion, Goucher College; coeditor of The Universe Is Indifferent: Theology, Philosophy, and Mad Men

"Compelling, accessible, provocative, and always entertaining, Saving the World and Healing the Soul shows us how goodness and truth and humanity are always as close as a theater (or tablet screen) near you. In their super-engaging treatment of films like The Hunger Games and The Dark Knight Rises, the authors serve us by both dealing with films people actually watch, and helping us know how to watch them, a treat even better than buttered popcorn."

—Jonathan Tran, Baylor University; author of The Vietnam War and Theologies of Memory

Customer Reviews