FAQ About Cinema and the Bible at Zion


Q: What does ESL stand for?

A: You may see a church from time to time offering a class in conversational English for immigrants—helping them make sense of a world in which an unfamiliar tongue is spoken. Essentially, this Bible class will help improve the media literacy and fluency of people—Entertainment as a Second Language.

Q: Will we actually watch the movies in the class?

A: We ask that participants watch the movies at home sometime before the class meets (if they so desire). Since our time is only an hour, we will spend more of our time in discussion than in watching clips. Typically, the trailer will be played as a way to refresh our memories.

Q: Do I have assignments if I attend the Bible Class?

A: No. We only suggest that you consider reading the optional course material offered (the books). In our discussion, you can add your voice to the mix or just quietly enjoy the discussion. All opinions are welcome.

Q: Why do you include an R-rated film?

A: Our approach is not to ask if we should watch films like these, but ask if these more difficult scenes and themes somehow make the film exempt from critical examination. We find that many R-rated films are in need of close, scholarly analysis. However, if you normally avoid such films, you can simply skip watching the movie for that week.

Q: Who are the class leaders?

A: Dr. Philip Hohle is the overall class moderator. A member of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image, he has published and presented internationally on viewer-response theory as it relates to the movie-watching experience. He is particularly interested in how we make sense of transgressive protagonist-heroes.  Sarah Jones, Chad Matthews, and Robin Knippa will fill the role of formal respondents to some of the films selected for this class.

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