McGeough, Kevin

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    The problem with David: masculinity and morality in Biblical cinema
    (University of Nebrask Omaha, 2018) McGeough, Kevin
    The King David of the Bible, and especially as portrayed in the books of Samuel, is one of the most complex characters in ancient literature. We are told his story from his youth as a shepherd until his death as king of Israel. He kills a mighty warrior with a slingshot, goes to war with his king and later his son, and has an affair that threatens to throw his kingdom into disarray. The stories surrounding David seem perfect for cinematic adaptation yet what makes this character so compelling has been problematic for filmmakers. Here, three types of Biblical filmmaking shall be considered: Hollywood epics (David and Bathsheba (1951), David and Goliath (1960), and King David (1985)); televised event series (The Story of David (1976) and The Bible: The Epic Miniseries (2013)); and independent Christian films (David and Goliath (2015) and David vs. Goliath: Battle of Faith (2016)). Issues that shall be considered include: tone and genre, casting, democracy and ideology, masculinity, and sexual morality. This investigation shall explore how these issues are treated in different types of Biblical filmmaking and how genre constraints impact the reception of David on film.
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    Heroes, mummies, and treasure: Near Eastern archaeology in the movies
    (American Schools of Oriental Research, 2006) McGeough, Kevin
    By studying the representations of archaeology in film, it should be possible for archaeologists better to understand the public's perception of their work and to communicate archaeological knowledge more effectively to popular audiences.
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    Esther the hero: going beyond "wisdom" in heroic narratives
    (Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2008) McGeough, Kevin
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    Celluloid Esther: the literary carnivalesque as transformed through the lens of the cinematic epic
    (De Gruyter, 2017) McGeough, Kevin M.
    The reception of Esther has often been fraught with attempts to make the book more palatable to the audience receiving it and to interpret the book in a manner more consistent with the values of that community. This is evidence in cinematic adaptations of the book, where the story is transformed to better suit the genre expectations of the Biblical epic and the perspectives of the intended viewers. By examining two films based on Esther – Esther and the King (1960) and One Night with the King (2006) – some of the interpretive issues surrounding the tone and content of the Biblical source become apparent. If Esther is best understood as a carnivalesque work, as many scholars have suggested, then the expectations of this kind of work have not been met in the cinematic adaptations. Given the importance of film in contemporary Biblical reception, these new readings of Esther are perhaps particularly influential, at least within the restricted communities who view these movies. Likewise, analysis of these changes highlights the values of the makers of these films and the audiences who consume them.
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    The roles of violence in recent Biblical cinema: The Passion, Noah, and Exodus: Gods and Kings
    (University of Nebraska at Omaha, 2016) McGeough, Kevin M.
    When The Passion was released, its extremely graphic violence horrified critics and scholars of religion although its success at the box office indicates that this, if anything, made the story of Jesus more appealing for viewers. Now that more time has passed and expectations surrounding levels of acceptable violence in cinema have changed, it is worth reconsidering how cinematic violence is used as reception strategy in Biblical cinema. Considering The Passion with more recent Biblical films,Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings, it becomes apparent that violence is not only used to expand laconic Biblical narratives but to invest them with a sense of verism, to situate the stories in either specifically historical or generally mythological time, to elicit audience sympathy, to remake Biblical characters into figures of heroic masculinity, and to harmonize Biblical story-telling with cinematic genre conventions. Viewing violence from a genre perspective, this article explores how considering instances of cinematic violence as light or heavy helps to better understand the complexities of the roles violence plays in adapting Biblical stories for the screen.