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Adele Reinhartz Die „Glückliche Heilige Familie“ in den Jesus-Filmen

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As a mode of cultural expression, film provides a fertile ground for the hermeneutics of suspicion, for paying attention to the ways in which contemporary concerns and sensibilities shape exegesis, and for considering the cultural afterlife of biblical women and their menfolk. In this paper, I will look at the depictions of Jesus' family relationships in film. In doing so, I will concentrate primarily on the cinematic expansions of and additions to the canonical texts. Most of the family-related expansions in the Jesus films express a theme that we might call “The Happy Holy Family”, in which emphasis is placed on the love and harmony among Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I will argue that these additions serve two functions. One is to resolve the tensions inherent in the Gospel accounts. The second is to convey, indirectly and implicitly, the film-makers' christologies, that is, their understanding of Jesus as the Messiah whose nature is both human and divine. Fundamental to both of these functions is a set of commonplace assumptions regarding family life, human development and social relationships.

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Adele Reinhartz,

is the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, as well as Professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She has also taught at the University of Toronto (1981-87) and at McMaster University (1987-2002). Her main research interests lie in the history and literature of early Judaism and Christianity, and particularly, in early Jewish Christian relations. Much of her work in this area has focused on the Gospel of John. Other interests include literary and narrative criticism, feminist biblical criticism, and the intersection between the Bible and film. Dr. Reinhartz has lectured extensively in these areas in Canada, the United States, Europe and Israel.

© Adele Reinhartz 2002,, ISSN 1661-3317