When the shampoo bottle says “Lather. Rinse. Repeat,” we don’t spend the rest of our lives in the shower. We infer that it means “repeat once.” And we know how to interpret ambiguous headlines such as “Kids Make Nutritious Snacks,” “Prostitutes Appeal to Pope,” and “British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands” … (Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate)
By now it’s almost become old hat: read a Christian’s negative review of Noah, and at some point you’ll find the film criticized for heavy-handed environmentalism. For example, in an excessively vituperative review on the Christian Post website, Brian Godawa writes:
Christians, you are tools being played if you think that this movie is anything BUT a subversion of the Biblical God and an exaltation of environmentalism and animal rights against humans. Don’t listen to those who say that hurting the earth is just part of the sins of mankind in the story. No matter what “sins” of man that are portrayed in this story, they are clearly only expressions of the ultimate sin, which is to sin against the earth. Every time it talks about man’s sin and God’s intent, the context is always “creation” not God, and not man as God’s image. The guy who preaches “man as God’s image” is the villain. “Creation” as in “Nature” is the metanarrative here, NOT God.
And that’s when Godawa is being nice.
Darren Aronofsky’s Noah premiered this week in theaters worldwide. Rob Moore, the Paramount executive who green-lit the project, is a Pepperdine alum. On Thursday night he hosted a Dean’s Executive Leadership Series event for Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management at Paramount Studios, including a screening of Noah. This particular post won’t present a comprehensive review of the film—there are plenty of those out there and will be plenty more, I’m sure—though I may post additional reflections later on. Rather, I want to suggest something about how you should approach the film, should you decide to go see it.
John Anderson and I just got official notice today that our Society of Biblical Literature Genesis Consultation, whose three-year run ended at the 2013 SBL Annual Meeting in Baltimore, has been renewed as a Section for the next six years. This wonderful news presents us with a bit of a conundrum: we were not able to issue a call for papers in the normal way. Only today—the last day—did the system allow potential presenters to propose papers. Amazingly, we got a proposal within just a few minutes of the Section going live!
At any rate, if you are a biblical scholar working on Genesis, please consider submitting a proposal to our open session at the 2014 Annual Meeting in San Diego! The SBL’s standard system will only accept proposals up through midnight tonight (March 4, 2014), however, so either act fast or send a proposal to me via e-mail within the next few days. See you in San Diego!
Part of my Hebrew teaching this year involves creating a series of online lessons that students can use to review and solidify what they’re learning in the classroom. Each slideshow in the עִבְרִית Express series presents a grammar lesson inductively, using only pictures and Hebrew text, then reviews the lesson deductively, explaining the new grammatical ideas in English.