Encyclopedia of Religion and Film

by Eric Michael Mazur, Editor


Religion has played a significant role in film for as long as the art form has existed. However, scholarly interest in film's religious content has recently increased, expanding beyond traditional "high art" films to the more widely distributed and commercially successful movies. Even the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show has religious relevance.

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Cover image for Encyclopedia of Religion and Film

March 2011


Pages 644
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Religion/General

Comprising 91 A–Z entries, this encyclopedia provides a broad and comprehensive introduction to the topic of religion within film.

Technology has enabled films to reach much wider audiences, enabling today's viewers to access a dizzying number of films that employ diverse symbolism and communicate a vast array of viewpoints. Encyclopedia of Religion and Film will provide such an audience with the tools to begin their own exploration of the deeper meanings of these films and grasp the religious significance within.

Organized alphabetically, this encyclopedia provides more than 90 entries on the larger religious traditions, the major film-producing regions of the globe, the films that have stirred controversy, the most significant religious symbols, and the more important filmmakers. The included topics provide substantially more information on the intersection of religion and film than any of the similar volumes currently available. While the emphasis is on the English-speaking world and the films produced therein, there is also substantial representation of non-English, non-Western film and filmmakers, providing significant intercultural coverage to the topic.


  • Presents 91 A–Z entries that illuminate topics of geographic and regional interest, biographic data, categories common in the study of religion, and examinations of specific films or film-related events
  • Contains contributions from a remarkable group of distinguished, well-published authorities and younger scholars, all with relevant backgrounds in religion, film, culture, or multiple areas of expertise
  • Includes images of important film directors as well as film stills
  • Provides selected bibliographic information regarding the intersection of religion and film that supplements the "for further reading" section of each entry
  • Offers an indexed filmography of works noted throughout the encyclopedia, providing significant information about each film, such as year released, director, and major actors


  • Provides a breadth of entries that cover films from around the globe, across religious traditions, and from a wide variety of important filmmakers
  • Contains detailed information accessible to the educated nonspecialist—those with no background in religion or film
  • Features numerous images that accompany more than one quarter of the entries
Author Info

Eric Michael Mazur is associate professor of religious studies and holds the Gloria & David Furman Chair of Judaic Studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, VA. He teaches courses in Judaism, religion in American culture, and the academic study of religion. His published works include The Americanization of Religious Minorities: Confronting the Constitutional Order and Religion on Trial: How Supreme Court Trends Threaten Freedom of Conscience in America. He also served as editor for Art and the Religious Impulse and God in the Details: American Religion in Popular Culture.



"Although the American cinema dominates the films represented in this work there are still many
international films and directors featured. The resource examines an eclectic list of film titles and is highly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries that support the study of film, religion and philosophy."—Reference Reviews

"Private church-related colleges, theological seminaries, and public libraries should find this volume helpful. Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice

"It provides an interesting approach to a topic that is central to many people’s lives. Though classified under film, it would have uses in religion collections as well."—Booklist

"Clearly written entries will offer much discussion material for anyone interested in religion and film, either as separate or combined disciplines. Recommended for academic and large public libraries."—Library Journal

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