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Research Guides

Jackman Humanities Institute - Scholars in Residence - 2023

A library guide supporting research projects included in the JHI SiR 2020 program.

Project Description

Investigating the Oberammergau Passion Play
Supervisor: Prof. Elliot Leffler
Each decade, the townspeople in tiny Oberammergau, Germany perform a passion play, chronicling Jesus’s life and death.  They’ve been doing this since 1634, and they do it on a tremendous scale – with thousands of actors, over 100 musicians, and a budget that rivals Broadway musicals. The production used to be exclusively Catholic, entirely white, mostly male, and virulently anti-Semitic – but now a new director wants change. This research project synthesizes 50-60 interviews to ascertain how the new artistic choices influence people’s evolving understandings of religion, history, and local identity. Scholars will transcribe, code, and summarize the interviews. Scholars should be adept typists; knowledge of German language, of theatre, and of the gospel narratives are assets but not essential.  

Essential Texts:

Biblical dramatizations:


Elliot Leffler (2016) Rechoreographing intercultural encounters: the power and limits of dramatic play in segregated communities, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 21:2, 139-153, DOI: 10.1080/13569783.2016.115540 

Jesus and the historical contexts:

ZEALOT : The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Aslan, Reza In order to borrow this book online, please sign up for an account on Internet Archive, using the "Log in and Borrow" link.

Holy Bible - New International Version - Please note that the passion narrative begins at Mark Ch 11, Matthew Ch 21, Luke Ch 19 v.28, and John Ch 12 (v.12).  

And can you also include, in this section on Jesus and his historical context, the book The Last Week by Borg and Crosson?



Databases - Religion, Theatre, History

Resources on Qualitative Research Methods

Here is a selection of resources that will introduce you to interviewing as a qualitative method. All items are available in digital form.