Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 38, No 1-2 (2019)

Gnostic Imagery in Disney’s Pinocchio

Tony Burke
Issued Date: 14 May 2019


The right film can work wonders for helping students understand difficult concepts in religion. Disney’s Pinocchio at once provides a visual metaphor for the gnostic version of the creation of humanity and conveys the anxiety that must have been felt by prospective Gnostics as they came to the realization that their well-known and beloved traditions could yield such disconcerting interpretations. But to what extent are the apparent gnostic elements in the film intended? And do they naturally emerge from the sources (Carlo Collodi’s 1881–1883 series of short stories) used to make the film? The same questions can be applied to the sources of gnostic texts and thus open up avenues of discussion about the creation, transmission, and interpretation of ancient Christian literature. 

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.38251


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