Joel Mayward: Viewing Film as Theology: An Analysis of Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life

Date(s) - February 9, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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Please join us for a lunchtime lecture with Dr. Joel Mayward (George Fox University). Joel will be speaking on “Viewing Film as Theology: An Analysis of Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life.”

Time: 12 pm–1:30 pm
Date: Wednesday, Feb 9, 2022

The lecture will run from 12 pm–1 pm with a brief intermission before Q and A from 1:10–1:30 pm. Please note that this lecture is available online only.


Can film function as a form of theology beyond the limits of conventional word-based approaches? Theologian and film critic Dr. Joel Mayward suggests that certain films are capable of theologizing precisely via the audio-visual medium—this is film as theology, what Mayward calls “theocinematics.” This lecture will demonstrate this theocinematic approach through an in-depth analysis of Terrence Malick’s 2019 film, A Hidden Life, which is based upon the real-life story of Austrian peasant farmer Franz Jägerstätter and his refusal to swear allegiance to Hitler in World War II due to his Roman Catholic faith. By attending to the aesthetic dimensions of A Hidden Life, Mayward ultimately proposes that, beyond viewing cinema theologically, we may also view theology cinematically.


Dr. Joel Mayward (PhD, University of St Andrews) is the Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, Theology and the Arts at George Fox University. He is also a prolific film critic, having written for RogerEbertBright Wall/Dark RoomChristianity Today, and Christ and Pop Culture, alongside his own blog, Cinemayward. His dissertation focused on the intersection of theology, philosophy, and cinema through the films of Belgium filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, as seen through the hermeneutical phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur. Joel’s next major writing project is a book on philosophical theology and the films of Christopher Nolan (Fortress Academic, forthcoming 2023). He currently lives in Oregon with his wife and three children.


The lecture is free, but a ticket is required to participate.

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