CFP: New Heart and New Spirit: Perspectives on the Modern Biblical Epic


The extreme profitability of Mel Gibson’s
The Passion of the Christ in 2004 came as a great surprise to the Hollywood establishment, particularly considering its failure to find production funding through a major studio.  Since this time, the big-budget mainstream biblical epic, long thought dead in terms of widespread marketability, has become a viable Hollywood studio product with regards to seeking both profits and critical acclaim, as well as outlets for auteurist ‘passion projects’ such as Gibson’s film, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah (2014), and Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings.  With this year seeing two new fiction films featuring depictions of Jesus, the crucifixion, and resurrection [Risen (dir. Kevin Reynolds) and Ben-Hur (dir. Timur Bekmambetov)], academic consideration of the modern biblical epic is both timely and highly relevant.

This is a preliminary call for papers and proposals for an edited collection using a broad range of approaches in the analysis of these films and this phenomenon specifically.  Proposals can address, but are not limited

Stylistic and narrative analysis

Considerations of genre

Historical and political contexts

Industrial efforts to capitalise on this trend (see the short-lived Fox Faith studios in the mid 2000s and its products)

Critical viability and acceptance

Intersections of, or discord between, faith and fandom

Representations of race and gender

Auteurist analyses of these films

Philosophical and more broadly theoretical approaches to these films and this trend.

Proposals and abstracts of approximately 300 words with a short bio can be submitted to Wickham Clayton by 31 August, at  Also feel free to email for expressions of interest and questions regarding the project.


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