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Seeing and Being with Youth: Bildungsroman and Coming of Age from Goethe to Star Wars and The Matrix

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This article examines the potential of reinterpreting Goethe's 18th century literary representation of Bildungsroman for the contemporary context. The concept of adolescent formation (Bildung) which Goethe draws upon is examined as is the place and power of narrative both as metaphor and mechanism for adolescent development. From this, a missional theology for engaging young people is suggested by viewing narratives of formation observed in contemporary cinema as a continuation of this tradition. The article then explores how young people might use such narratives in their own quest for meaning and how youth ministry could by more proactive in supporting and mentoring such use to support and encourage transition to adult maturity.


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