Jesus Christ, Superstar?
Why the Gospels Don’t Make Good Movies

By Bill Jenkins
Department of English
Crichton College


1. This is a problem that goes beyond turning the Gospels into film. The same aesthetic issues apply to Buddhist scriptures and the Koran.

2. Auden, W. H., 1989, “Postscript: Christianity and Art.” The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays. Selected by Edward Mendelson. New York: Vintage International, 457.

3. Ryken, L. 1992, Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible. 2 nd Edition. Grand Rapids: Baker, 375.


5. ...377.

6. Cullman, O., 1968, The New Testament: An Introduction for the General Reader. Philadelphia: Westminster P, 28.

7. Cabannis, A., 1970, Liturgy and Literature: Selected Essays. U of AL P, 15.

8. Baugh, L., 1997, Imaging the Divine: Jesus and Christ Figures in Film. Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 4.

9. Jeffery H. Mahan in “Celluloid Savior: Jesus in the Movies,” and Gerald Forshey in “Jesus on Film” discuss this problem with representing Jesus by recognizable actors.

10.Thompson, J. O., 1997, “Jesus as Moving Image: The Question of Movement.” Images Of Christ: Ancient and Modern. Eds. Stanley E. Porter, Michael A. Hayes, and David Tombs. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic P., 295.

11. Lewis, C. S., 1964, Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 85.

12. Billingsley, K. L., 1989, The Seductive Image: A Christian Critique of the World of Film. Crossway Books, 55.

13. Stern, R. C., 1999, Jefford, C. N. and DeBona, G., OSB. Savior on the Silver Screen. New York: Paulist Press, 217.

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