Hidden Perspectives

Bringing the Bible Out of the Closet

Orange is the New Bible Interview: Michelle Fletcher

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1. Hello! Tell us about yourself…who are you and what do you do?

Hello! I’m Michelle Fletcher and I’m an Associate Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent. I did my doctorate at King’s College London, using Film theory on imitation and combination to explore the book of Revelation’s relationship with the Hebrew Bible. As a result, Bible and film has become a particular research area of mine—from Disaster movies to Film Noir, Terminator Salvation to Once Upon a Time in the West, I’ve used them all as a lenses to re-read the Bible.

2. How did you get involved with/interested in Orange is the New Bible?

Jo and Lucy contacted me and asked whether I would like to be involved in the project and I of course jumped at the chance (who wouldn’t?).

3. What interests you about Orange is the New Black and the Bible?

As a biblical scholar with penchant for popular culture I adore bringing the Bible into dialogue with what we all love to watch in order to create challenging insights into how we understand texts and their reception. Film and TV studies has so much rich theory that we biblical scholars can learn from and can use to reassess how we approach the Bible, and so this is a chance to see the exciting results of the intermingling of Bible and TV.

4. How can Orange is the New Bible relate to your everyday work?

As an Apocalypse scholar I spend a lot of time dealing with a text which is often believed to focus on future retribution. OITNB has much to say about what society calls “justice” in the here and now, calling into question what we deem to be fitting “retribution,” and so reading the Apocalypse through this lens is an eye-opener.

5. OITNBible is a Hidden Perspectives project.  How do you think OITNBible can help ‘bring the Bible out of the closet’?

Katie summed it up in her interview: this project ticks all the Hidden Perspectives boxes and more .

6. If you’ve seen the TV show, tell us about one character and why they interest you?

I really enjoy scenes with Suzanne as she’s like a breath of fresh air with her on-point observations and never ceasing ability to shake up the ways we view such a repetitive and seemingly pre-programmed environment.

7. What other projects are you working on and/or what is next for you??

I’ve got a number of projects on the go at the moment. The biggest one is getting a monograph together off the back of my doctorate, but I’m also researching into the use of Exodus motifs in the Apocalypse, and writing on Bible, film, and genre for forthcoming volumes. And then there’s a project I’ve been building up to for a couple of years which I am finally finding time to work on: uniting Tom Cruise films and biblical studies.

8. What would you like to see OITNBible do next?

It’s great to see such a widely watched show meeting biblical scholarship. More of this please!

97. Is there anything else you’d like to say about OITNBible at the moment?

It’s all pretty damn exciting…

Author: Hidden Perspectives

A research project within the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (SIIBS) at The University of Sheffield.

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