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The Fiery Serpent

Just as Moses lifted a fiery serpent on a bronze pole before the children of Israel, pointing onlookers to Messiah, the theatre and film arts today are capturing the modern imagination with their craft, focusing it on Christ and His victory over evil in our world, says midlife convert, director and Bates College professor Paul Kuritz. His newest book, The Fiery Serpent, is one of an emerging few that seeks to set forth a Christian theory of theatre arts and answer key questions about its purpose and practice today, such as:

  • What causes a work of dramatic theater to come into being?
  • What is the function of storytelling-for God? Humans? Actors and artists?
  • What is the relationship between the words of a script or screenplay and The Word?
  • What makes a play or film beautiful, good, or evil?
Paul Kuritz author of THE FIERY SERPENT

Professor Paul Kuritz

Using Shakespeare’s classic play, Hamlet, and Elia Kazan’s powerful film, “On the Waterfront,” as examples of excellence, The Fiery Serpent seeks out a standard for film and theater makers that reflects the model God put forth in creation, asking, What is the true purpose of the arts, and How is good theatre presented?

Dramatic theater, at its best, presents the story of a human being trapped in an evil age, confronted by a breakthrough into his life by the Kingdom of God, explains Kuritz. The film or play has the ability to invite us into that Kingdom as the truth breaks through to point us to Christ.

Furthermore, says the college instructor/director/author,

God uses theatre to show Kingdom power, to awaken our desire to seek it, to deepen our trust in God, to empower us to live safely and without fear in a world of poisonous snakes, sex, violence, and temptation. Christian dramatic theater, like the fiery serpent in the wilderness, is a glimpse of grace, leading us to the Source of grace. It invites us to travel toward the Kingdom of God.

The book includes Scripture and quotes from thinkers such as Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. The author maintains that it is an undeniable truth that Christian filmmaking and theatre, with popular offerings such as Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Passion of the Christ, Evan Almighty and dozens others, are having global impact on our world today. Dr. Kuritz received his Ph.D. at Indiana University. Reviews of his book are available at, W. David Phillips, and Front Street.

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