Brian Mattson of the Center for Cultural Leadership offers a lively, compelling analysis of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. He shows that the film is consistent and sticks close to its sources.

The only problem is that Aronofsky’s sources are Kabbalic and Gnostic. Mattson writes,

“The world of Aronofsky’s Noah is a thoroughly Gnostic one: a graded universe of ‘higher’ and ‘lower.’ The ‘spiritual’ is good, and way, way, way ‘up there’ where the ineffable, unspeaking god dwells, and the ‘material’ is bad, and way, way down here where our spirits are encased in material flesh. This is not only true of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, but of fallen angels, who are explicitly depicted as being spirits trapped inside a material ‘body’ of cooled molten lava.

“Admittedly, they make pretty nifty movie characters, but they’re also notorious in Gnostic speculation. Gnostics call them Archons, lesser divine beings or angels who aid ‘The Creator’ in forming the visible universe. And Kabbalah has a pantheon of angelic beings of its own all up and down the ladder of ‘divine being.’ And fallen angels are never totally fallen in this brand of mysticism. To quote the Zohar again, a central Kabbalah text: ‘All things of which this world consists, the spirit as well as the body, will return to the principle and the root from which they came.’ Funny. That’s exactly what happens to Aronofsky’s Lava Monsters. They redeem themselves, shed their outer material skin, and fly back to the heavens.”

More on: Film, Gnosticism

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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