Post-Modern Biblical Interpretation and Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’

As I am working on my thesis, I’ve been reading through some articles and chapters on theological interpretation and today I’ve been mulling over an article by AKM Adam on Post-Modern Biblical Interpretation. It’s an excellent article if you are interested in getting a summary review of the differences between modern and post-modern approaches to interpretation. I thought it was particularly relevant in light of the move Noah which has caused a bit of an uproar in terms of its “accuracy” and the freedom taken by Aranofsky in his story-telling.

In discussing the freedom of post-modern interpreters, AKM Adam writes:

“…post-modern interpreters may productively disregard the modern norms that restrict interpretation to discursive genres. Although such interpretations might not readily be judged by strictly modern criteria, reviewers could draw on the critical wisdom relative to the genre in question to supply what is lacking in the modern repertoire. A film adaptation of the Davidic monarchy would not be answerable simply to the customary questions relative to historicity, anachronism, verisimilitude, and scholarly integrity but would also be answerable for the quality of lighting, staging, direction, acting, and soundtrack.A modern critic might wince at the thought that exquisite casting and a compelling soundtrack could redeem a filmed interpretation that fell shot of a perfectly accurate historical interpretation, but a post-modern critic could articulate a judgment that took account of more dimensions than only the historical foundations.

– AKM Adam on Post-Modern Biblical Interpretation*

Personally, I really enjoyed Aronofsky’s Noah. And the more I think about the story Aranofsky told, the more I love his re-telling of Noah. I can look past its so-called “inaccuracies” because it succeeds in telling a good, thought-provoking, and relevant story. I don’t need a film to stick to the biblical script… I have the scriptures for that and I don’t expect a movie–which is about entertainment, art, as well as a message–to serve the same role as the Bible.

I think the best description of the film I have heard (by multiple tweeters and bloggers) is that it is a modern day parable which uses the story of Noah as it’s framework, a sort of outline or jumping off point. Michelle has written a great post here at Cataclysmic that I highly recommend on Noah and the Violence that Haunts Us All.  Peter Enns also has a good, spoiler-free review at his blog.

*I got this article from my adviser and don’t know which dictionary it came out of but I will update this post with that info and page number once I find out.

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