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EXAMINING TWILIGHT THROUGH A BIBLICAL LENS People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella's forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl's relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his "good" side. But the Saga isn't just another fantasyit's teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God's plan for love? Touched by a Vampireis the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer's Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story's redemptive qualities outshine its darkness. Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging,Touched by a Vampireis written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.
Beth Felker Jones is Assistant Professor of Theology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. She is the author of The Marks of His Wounds: Gender Politics and Bodily Resurrection, as well as numerous articles and reviews. Beth is a mother and a pastor’s wife.
Table of Contents
Forbidden Fruit: The Allure of Dangerous Romance
Dazzled: How Love Works in the Twilight Saga
Body and Blood: Twilight's Take on Abstinence and sex
The Superhero and the Girl Next Door: Gender Roles in Twilight
Baseball and Loyalty: Twilight and the Ideal Family
For Eternity: The Good, the Bad, and the Reality of Marriage in Twilight
Monster Spawn or Precious Child? Children in the Twilight Saga
Inhuman Strength: Twilight and the Good Life
My True Place in This World: Bella's Search for Purpse
Passion for God: The Power of Desire in Twilight and in Real Life
Epilogue: Jesus, the Light
Book-by-Book Discussion Guide
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 1 Forbidden Fruit The Allure of Dangerous Romance Suppose that each person possesses a certain amount of energy for wanting and hoping and wishing. This energy represents our deep longings. If we picture that energy as a pile of golden coins, we can imagine the ways we "spend" it. For many girls and women, we pour most of these coins out on romance. We spend the coins on imagining a true love, on hoping that we will meet Mr. Right, our Prince Charming. We sigh over "the one," our soul mate, the romantic love who will finally understand us, who will match up with who we are.
When we're little girls, we watch Snow White sing, "Someday my prince will come," longing for the day when she will meet the man of her dreams. According to the song, when she meets Prince Charming, it will be love at first sight. Snow White and her cousins, the princesses of all our favorite fairy tales, gladly spend their golden coins on yearning for that prince. We've been encouraged to share this longing, to make it our own story.
Bella's romance in the Twilight Saga fits with our tendency to spend our wanting and hoping coins on romance. This romance defies the rules and rushes forward despite all dangers. It is also completely absorbing—it demands everything from Bella (and from many readers of the books as well). Most of all, this romance is fated. Edward and Bella are soul mates, meant for each other. The forces that draw them together are more powerful than the difficulties and dangers that would keep them apart.
Intense and dangerous romance defines the Twilight Saga.
DANGEROUS ROMANCE When Bella first sits down next to Edward in science class, he tenses up and looks at her with revulsion. She had noticed him earlier that day but doesn't yet know him. Bella can't imagine why she has provoked such horror from the boy next to her. His strong reaction makes her think about the phrase "If looks could kill."1 She senses the danger between them.
We later learn why Edward looked at her with such disgust. For him, the lure of Bella's flesh, the particular scent of her blood, is uniquely tempting. It is so tantalizing that he has to run away to keep himself from attacking her and undoing all the years he has spent protecting human life. Even though he has practiced restraint for decades, developing self-control, he must flee. For him, Bella is that enticing. Running is the only way to stop himself from ripping her to pieces then and there.
InNew Moon,Aro, one of the Volturi guardians of the vampire world, is baffled at the way Edward can resist the "call" of Bella's blood when it speaks to him with such intensity. Why would Edwardwantto resist such a tempting lure? Why, when something isthatdesirable,thatdelicious, would Edward steel himself against the urge to bite?
At the beginning ofTwilight,we meet a quotation from Scripture. In Genesis 2:17, God instructs human beings that they "must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." The book's striking cover art, a ripe red apple, is the forbidden fruit of dangerous love. The romance at the center ofTwilightis forbidden because it is so very dangerous.
As Christians, though, we need to pause before we romanticize the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis, God gives the people many, many good things. They have all they need for joy and happiness and a great life. The choice humans make to disobey God and eat the one "forbidden" fruit is, literally, a fatal choice. It brings sin and death into the world. All of that happiness and goodness come crashing down around them.
Romance threatens to destroy Bella. The books create a constant, suspenseful awareness that Edward is always in danger of losing control and biting her. Every moment that B
Excerpted from Touched by a Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga by Beth Felker Jones All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.