Theology and Spider-Man provides a look at the religious themes present in one of the most popular heroes of the past half-century, Spider-Man. In order to create a systematic theology of Spider-Man, the contributors delve into themes of sin, salvation, and creedal theology, while also addressing liberation theology, Black theology, bioethics, and hermeneutics. This volume balances theological depth with discussion of the comics and films, which makes it a perfect collection for those interested in theology, Spider-Man, or both.
George Tsakiridis is senior lecturer of philosophy and religion at South Dakota State University.
Introduction: Theologizing the Spider
1 Sin and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man: A Spider-Harmatiology
Jerome Van Kuiken
2 Tyger, Lamb, Spider, Hunter: “Kraven’s Last Hunt” and The Web of Theodicy
3 Untangling the Web of Sins: The Superior Spider-Man as Secular Hagiography
David K. Goodin
4 Let Him Be to You as a Goblin: Forgiveness as the Defeat of Evil in Spider-Man Comics
Travis B. Hill
5 “Look out, here comes the Spider-Man”: An Exploration of the Creedal Theology of Spider-Man
6 Moral Formation in Pedagogies of Violence: Civil War’s Peter Parker
John C. McDowell
7 Peter Parker’s Progeny: Power, Genetics, and Virtuous Parenting in Spider-Girl
Michael Buttrey and Leah DeJong
8 “Not Gonna Turn Invisible”: Into the Spider-Verse and Black Theology
Matthew Vega and Russell P. Johnson
9 A Web of Significations: The Hermeneutics of Theological Anthropology in Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)
10 Venom the Liberation Theologian
11 Loss, Death, and Afterlife: Thanatology and Theology in Spider-Man Comics
12 Spider-Man: An Icon in your Pocket
Joseph E. Gaston
As one driven by guilt and a deep sense of moral responsibility, Spider-Man is a character well-primed for theological exploration. George Tsakiridis has assembled a fascinating collection of well-reasoned and engaging essays that probe the depths of this complex and multi-layered character. This book is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the theological value of Spider-Man.
The volume you are looking at is radioactive with theological and fandom energy. If you’ve yet to be bitten by one or both, this book will sneak up on you and in a life-changing instant transform your world. If you’ve already been bitten, your spidey and theology senses will tingle and be tickled as the book explores the classic comics, the recent movies, the cartoons, the toys, and even the music. It brings these into conversation with theological perspectives ancient and modern, ranging from Paul the Apostle and St. Moses the Ethiopian all the way down to authors of our own era such as Hannah Arendt and James Cone. The book will take you places you never imagined as well as through nostalgic reminiscences of the past. Read it—keeping in mind that with great knowledge comes great responsibility.