Recently I was invited to review the book “The Fiery Serpent” by Dr. Paul Kuritz.‚ Dr. Kuritz teaches theater and film at Bates University. The book jacket states that this book “presents a Christian paradigm for the arts by exploring how best to model film and theatre after His own work in creation.” I would suggest that it goes farther than that; I feel that he may, in fact, have created a Theology of Christian Storytelling.
Kuritz uses Aristotle’s four levels of inquiry–material, form, power, and purpose–as chapter headings and as useful methods of exploring storytelling, speficially in the areas of theater and film.
One particular item of note is the tension of individual behavior in a scripted activity.‚ He makes the interesting of how a good actor will get so lost in the part that, while it is scripted, the actor begins to live out the story in scenes, almost oblivious to the whole story.‚ This has applications across many lines, but specifically in the area of soteriology.
This book has many implications for communication within contemporary culture as well. There were some things theologically that initially brought about concern; continued reading, however, eased those concerns, though I think they might have been able to be communicated better.‚ On the whole, however, I thought this was a facinating book and one that could bring value to not only the theatre, but the pastor as well.
On a scale of 10, I would give this book a 7.5.
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