• Call it Science: Biblical Studies, Science Fiction, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    Author(s):
    Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (view group) , Aaron Ricker
    Date:
    2021
    Group(s):
    Biblical Studies, Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies
    Subject(s):
    Science fiction, Bible and literature, Reception of the Bible, Science and popular culture, Apocalyptic Literature, Popular culture
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    marvel cinematic universe, miracles
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/pn0q-vn67
    Abstract:
    In the virtual world elaborated in Marvel’s movies (the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” or MCU), “science” is creatively, strategically confused with “magic” and/or “religion.” Key supernatural/magical elements of the franchise’s comic-book source material are “retconned” (retroactively granted new narrative coherence and continuity) as advanced scientific marvels. I argue in the first section that a biblical studies perspective can shed valuable light on this contemporary sci-fi phenomenon, by highlighting the ideologically interested and culturally contingent character of “religious” phenomena like canons and marvels. The perspective thus provided can help elucidate the contexts and consequences of the MCU decision to retcon magical and religious cultural materials as scientific wonders. In the second section, I argue further that such reflection on science fiction and the MCU offers valuable perspective to biblical studies in return by opening new research avenues into the human and historical meaning of certain biblical traditions, in this case by recalling the sense of technology shock that must have sometimes accompanied ancient developments like the widespread use of war horses or the mass production of books—world-changing developments that modern biblical critics are not culturally primed to perceive and investigate as technological marvels.
    Notes:
    Aaron Ricker, "Call it Science: Biblical Studies, Science Fiction, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe," Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies 3.1 (2021): 44–73.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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