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A Theological Jurisprudence of Speculative Cinema: Superheroes, Science Fictions and Fantasies of Modern Law

ISBN13: 9781474424004
To be Published: December 2021
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Country of Publication: Scotland
Format: Hardback
Price: £85.00

Sets a new trajectory for considering the intertwined relationship between theology and law through speculative cinema.

  • Offers 7 close readings of Hollywood speculative fiction blockbusters as theological and jurisprudential texts: Shyamalan’s 'Unbreakable', Snyder’s 'Man of Steel', Lucas and Disney’s 'Star Wars', Nolan’s 'The Dark Knight' & 'The Dark Knight Rises', Proyas’ 'I, Robot', Nolfi’s 'The Adjustment Bureau' and Jackson’s 'The Hobbit'
  • Explores key themes of law including justice, the exception, law’s violence, revolution, law’s universality, sovereignty and property as theft
  • Explores key themes of theology including the nature of evil, myth and mysticism, atonement, sacrifice, compassionate acts, visions of the divine and charity as gift

Through close readings of a range of popular Hollywood speculative fiction films, Timothy Peters explores how fictional worlds, particularly those that ‘make strange’ the world of the viewer, can render visible and make explicit the otherwise opaque theologies of modern law. He illustrates that speculative cinema’s genres of estrangement provide a way for us to see and engage the theological concepts of modern law in our era of late capitalism, global empire and the crises of neoliberalism.

Law and Literature
Prologue: Reading the Law ‘Made Strange’
1. From Shyamalan’s Unbreakable to Snyder’s Man of Steel: Comic Book Mythology on Screen and the Co-Implication of Good and Evil
2. The Force of/as Modern Law: Justice, Order and the Secular Theology of Star Wars
3. The Superhero ‘Made Strange’: A Christological Reading of Christopher Nolan’s 'The Dark Knight'
4. A Tale of Two Gothams: Revolution, Sacrifice and the Rule of Law in 'The Dark Knight Rises'
5. Pauline Science Fiction: Alex Proyas’ 'I, Robot', Universalism and Love Beyond the Law
6. Escaping the Bureaucratisation of Destiny: Law, Theology and Freedom in George Nolfi’s 'The Adjustment Bureau'
7. ‘If more people valued home above gold this world would be a merrier place’: Hospitality, Gift-Exchange and the Theological Jurisprudence of J.R.R. Tolkien’s and Peter Jackson’s 'The Hobbit'