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Seeing is Believing is the newest book from theologian Richard Vance Goodwin

Have you ever had a profound experience while watching a movie? An experience that was truly moving, maybe even spiritual?? 

In Seeing Is Believing: The Revelation of God Through Film, theologian Richard Vance Goodwin argues that such experiences may sometimes be encounters with the divine. 

He also explores how these films use various visual strategies to invite viewers to feel emotions that may open them up to God's presence.  

Meet the Author

Richard Vance Goodwin (PhD, University of Otago) is adjunct assistant professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also Academic Director of Teaching and Learning at Pathways College of Bible and Mission.  

Richard completed his doctorate at Otago exploring theology and film, the thesis for which served as the basis for this book. Prior to that, he completed an MA in Theology through Fuller Seminary, a theological institution just down the road from Hollywood with a track record of engagement with pop culture. Now as affiliate faculty at Fuller, he teaches in Theology and Pop Culture and Theology and TV.

Richard lives in his native New Zealand with his wife and two sons.

Seeing is Believing: The Revelation of God Through Film

By Richard Vance Goodwin

How might film reveal God?

In its most basic form, film is a series of images displayed over time. Of course, film has developed greatly since the Lumière brothers by adding components such as sound, special effects, digital recording, and more to create an increasingly complex artistic medium. Historically, film studies has often focused on the narrative aspect of film as it seeks to tell a story. More recent studies, however, have turned attention to other elements of film, such as the musical score. Yet, film remains, in a sense, a series of images.

In this Studies in Theology and the Arts (STA) volume, theologian Richard Goodwin considers how the images that constitute film might be a conduit of God's revelation. By considering works by Carl Theodor Dreyer, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson, Robert Bresson, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick, and more, Goodwin argues that by inviting emotional responses, film images can be a medium of divine revelation.

Blessed are those who have seen God... through film.


RRP: $50.00

+ get your copy signed by author upon email request

"A number of books in recent years have studied film as a medium of theological exploration and insight, but most have focused on the story line that particular films develop. In this book, Richard Goodwin breaks new ground by exploring the ways in which the cinematographic techniques and devices through which the story is conveyed may themselves become instruments of divine revelation. In so doing, this book opens up a rich new avenue of exploration in the field of theology and film. I am glad to commend it to scholars and film lovers alike."

- Murray Rae, University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand

"Seeing Is Believing breaks new ground for Christians desiring to become more discerning filmgoers. Helping viewers move beyond mere plot analysis, Goodwin heightens our awareness of what images also accomplish. If you love going to movies, you'll love reading this book. You'll also love watching your next movie more!"

- Robert K. Johnston, senior professor of theology and culture and codirector of Brehm Film at Fuller Theological Seminary

"Lucidly summarizing multiple ways theologians through the ages have understood God's revelation, Richard Vance Goodwin suggests that cinema can be a source of revelatory power for those with eyes to see. Seeing, in fact, is key to his approach as he discusses the way visual techniques in four classic films mediate divine content. Astutely arguing against the reduction of film to a vehicle for either Christian messages or transcendent experiences, Goodwin gives a refreshingly new and thoroughly Christian spin to reception studies and cognitivism in film theory."

- Crystal L. Downing, author of Salvation from Cinema: The Medium is the Message

"Protestant theology has never known quite what to do with visual images of any kind, much less moving images. In Seeing Is Believing, Richard Goodwin short-circuits the ambivalence toward the visual that has long defined (Protestant) theological engagements with film. In doing so, he doesn't merely invite us to clarify our vision with respect to the theological significance of film. Rather, as if we were Neo emerging from the Matrix, Goodwin asks us to consider what might transpire if we actually used our eyes, perhaps for the very first time."

- Kutter Callaway, associate professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Deep Focus: Film and Theology in Dialogue

Listen to Richard being interviewed about his book:



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