Movies and Midrash: Popular Film and Jewish Religious Conversation by Wendy I. ZierlerMovies and Midrash: Popular Film and Jewish Religious Conversation by Wendy I. Zierler

Movies and Midrash: Popular Film and Jewish Religious Conversation

byWendy I. ZierlerForeword byEugene B. Borowitz

Hardcover | September 1, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 585 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Movies and Midrash uses cinema as a springboard to discuss central Jewish texts and matters of belief. A number of books have drawn on films to explicate Christian theology and belief, but Wendy I. Zierler is the first to do so from a Jewish perspective, exploring what Jewish tradition, text, and theology have to say about the lessons and themes arising from influential and compelling films. The book uses the method of "inverted midrash": while classical rabbinical midrash begins with exegesis of a verse and then introduces a mashal (parable) as a means of further explication, Zierler turns that process around, beginning with the culturally familiar cinematic parable and then analyzing related Jewish texts. Each chapter connects a secular film to a different central theme in classical Jewish sources or modern Jewish thought. Films covered include The Truman Show (truth), Memento (memory), Crimes and Misdemeanors (sin), Magnolia (confession and redemption), The Descendants (birthright), Forrest Gump (cleverness and simplicity), and The Hunger Games (creation of humanity in God's image), among others.
Wendy I. Zierler is Sigmund Falk Professor of Modern Jewish Literature and Feminist Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the author of And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Women's Writing.
Title:Movies and Midrash: Popular Film and Jewish Religious ConversationFormat:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:September 1, 2017Publisher:State University of New York PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1438466153

ISBN - 13:9781438466156

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Rabbi Eugene B. Borowitz

1. The Truman Show: Truth

2. Magnolia: Confession and Redemption

3. The Descendants: Birthright: Consent versus Descent

4. On Memento: Remaking Memory from the Outside In

5. Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Sin

6. Forrest Gump: Cleverness and Simplicity

7. The King’s Speech: Speaking God’s Word

8. Stranger than Fiction: God as Author

9. A Serious Man: Parables of Jewishness

10. Exam: Tests, Trials, and Attachments

11. The Hunger Games: In God’s Image

Conclusion Moonrise Kingdom: And the Youth Shall See Visions

Appendix I On the Design of “Reel Theology,” from e-mail archives
Appendix II More Movies and Midrash: Additional Film Resources


Editorial Reviews

"This is a groundbreaking work of originality, insight, and high quality. It will be of great importance not only for Jewish readers but also for non-Jewish readers who long for a non-Christian perspective on popular film. I loved this book!" - Eric Michael Mazur, editor, Encyclopedia of Religion and Film