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Kevin Madigan


Though known primarily as a scholar of the history of Christianity, Madigan has published a number of film reviews, usually on movies that treat themes that he, too, is interested in: the history of antisemitism, the Holocaust, the Second World War, the history of Christian thought, Christian defiance of evil in war, and the joy, motivations, and power of teaching. He has reviewed Michael Radford's filmic presentation of The Merchant of Venice, concentrating on the performance history of the play in Nazi Germany.  His ongoing admiration for religiously motivated heroism in times of great risk, as well as his fondness for a well-told story of inspiration that is also based on fact, led him to compose an appreciative review of Marc Rothemund's Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. He paired this review with Sebastian Dehnhardt's heartbreaking Stalingrad, where we see Hitler's fanatical will is not enough to overcome poor planning, low supplies, weather, hubris or a determined Red Army. The subject of will came up again in a review of the filmic transformation of Philip Dick's noirish short story The Adjustment Bureau. Here Madigan, in contemplating the philo-theological issues of free will and determinism expressed in the film.  In man of his reviews, we see the influence on Madigan of his favorite writer on war and literature, the late Paul Fussell (1924-2012).