Ernie Rea in conversation with guests about the religious roots of super heroes.
2019 looks set to be a huge year for superhero movies with eleven films due for release. From X-Men: Dark Phoenix to Captain Marvel, Marvel studios' first movie led by a female; the superhero movie craze looks set to continue long into the future. Yet the idea of heroes has religious and cultural roots that go way back. The Epic of Gilgamesh written in 2100 BC is thought to be the oldest hero story. “Hero cults” were one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. In the ancient Greek epic poem The Illiad “Homeric Heroes” are seen as exemplars of moral and physical action. Perhaps then it is not surprising that our modern day superheroes have such deep, on-going appeal.
On this New Year’s eve edition of Beyond Belief, Ernie Rea discusses how the idea of heroes has developed, why those characters often have supernatural as well as superhuman dimensions and what religious and cultural meaning underlines their enduring appeal. He is joined by Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at Sheffield University, Natalie Haynes, Classicist and Comedian and Ajinbayo "Siku" Akinsiku, British/Nigerian Artist and Writer and creator of the Manga Bible.