Image and Word: Theological Reflections on Media and Culture
We live in an image-saturated society—“an empire of signs”—in which discerning the difference between truth and illusion, fantasy and reality, is becoming an ever more difficult task. As communications media and powerful computer technologies converge, and invade and define ever greater areas of daily life, there are those who would argue that it’s a hopeless, or even a pointless task.
How have patterns of communication changed over time, and what impact have they had on human society and consciousness. What theological significance do they have? How should we read and understand the dynamics at work in the contemporary media-culture? In what ways do they challenge Christian identity and witness? What possibilities do they present? And what use, if any, should the Church make of media technologies in its ministry?
The course will explore these issues in contemporary culture in the light of:
- the ancient biblical themes of image and word
- the massive upheavals in patterns of communication that have taken place in the course of human history – from orality to literacy, from the printing press to photography and film, from television to the digital age
- close analysis of a variety of media phenomena – including commercials, interactive apps, rock videos, reality tv shows, and online games
- classroom discussion of the required texts
- presentations by students
There are no prerequisites for this course.