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Metamorphosis, Transfiguration, and the Body

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This essay examines the recent movies Avatar and District 9 in conjunction with the so-called "transfiguration stories" of Matt. 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9. It explores the difference between "transfiguration" and "metamorphosis" in these stories, and questions the avoidance of the latter term in English translations of the New Testament, as well as theological implications of the preference for "transfiguration." This tendency is already observable in the ideological dimensions of the New Testament. That the net effect of this translation preference is to obscure monstrous changes to the body of Jesus is made clear through contrast with the movies, and with Franz Kafka's story, "The Metamorphosis."

Affiliations: 1: Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan; 2: Methodist University, Fayetteville, North Carolina


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