I may or may not own a billion different versions of Beauty and the Beast. (Plus some figures, snowglobes and plastic McDonald’s toys)
Why? Because its my favorite fairy tale. Why? Because its the first/best fairytale and it is so TOTALLY theological!!!! (did I put too many exclamation points there?)
Things to know about Beauty and the Beast which I have disseminated from years of study (no seriously I have been convertly studying fairy tales for 8 years. First as an “English” major at Oberlin, then as a theological student at Princeton)
1. It is the FIRST fairy tale we know of
2. It evolved from what is the last myth we know of: Cupid and Psyche (in “The Golden Ass”) written a couple of hundred of years after myths were in style
3. Before Christianity, the “happily ever after concept” did not seem to exist in stories….In fact the theological differences between Cupid & Psyche and Beauty and the Beast are amazing but I will write my thesis on all that later (hopefully). Today we’ll stick to B&B
If you haven’t read Beauty and the Beast, I invite you to do so on literally the best Fairy Tale Resource today (I mean literally, I’ve done the research) at Sur La Lune http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/beautybeast/index.html
1. The prince/beast is a fallen man somehow either through his own or his parents brokenness. Usually his outer ugliness mirrors his inner ugliness (The Fall from Grace Anyone)
2. His Salvation/Transformation into his former/real/best self is through Love
3. Beauty Loves Beast even in his ugliness
4. Beast regains his life/and is transformed through the pure love of Beauty
(PS how cool is it that the Christ figure is a girl in this one)
1. Humanity falls and is ugly
2. Humanity’s hope lies in God’s grace through God’s Love
3. God loves us, period.
4. We are born again/from above and transformed
And we all will live happily ever after!
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.–1 Col 19-20
All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.–Ps. 86:9
(PS concerns and questions about the every knee shall bow language will be addressed in another post, so don’t worry)
Now that I’ve blown your mind (or at least reminded you to hear “Be Our Guest” again) I invite you to read any/all of the following, and if you know another Beauty and the Beast that you like let me know in case I haven’t read it.
(This may, perhaps, possibly in the Disney version make Gaston into the devil…hehehehehehehe)
Good Versions of Beauty and the Beast
1st John 4:7-18 (I’ve copied it below)
C.S. Lewis Voyage of the Dawn Treader Eustace’s Story
Beauty by Robin McKinley & Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (yes she wrote 2 good ones)
Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
Cupid and Psyche in the Golden Ass (Hi, Chloe! I love you!)
La Belle et La Bete directed by Cocteau (black and white one of the 1st films, look at the effects, I mean this was before computers)
Beauty and the Beast the 80s TV show
10th Kingdom (in a lighter vein)
Donkeyskin/Tattercoat/Alleirauh are very similar (though different)
Deerskin by Robin McKinley (I know, but I couldn’t help myself)
Fables Comic Series (note: main characters)
and of course the Disney movie/play
1st John 4:7-18; 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.