Convince me
Conversion narratives in the modern
in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium
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The heroes of films such as Ben-Hur (1959), Quo Vadis (1951) and The Robe (1953) all undergo narrative arcs in which they convert to Christianity or experience life-changing encounters with Christ. In this action, they symbolically reject totalitarian powers in favour of domesticity and faith. By contrast, the majority of recent epics feature atheistic or pagan heroes who remain so throughout their respective narratives. However, with the arrival of Noah (2014), Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), Risen (2016) and Ben-Hur (2016), the biblical epic has now returned and with it the motif of the religious conversion narrative. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the modern biblical epic, how it differs from its immediate predecessors and how it connects to its generic forebears. By contrasting the films Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) and Risen (2016), this chapter discusses the different ways in which conversion narratives have been used in the modern biblical epic, and in so doing shows how the modern epic is continuing to evolve while remaining inextricably linked to the epics of the 1950s–60s.

The Bible onscreen in the new millennium

New heart and new spirit

Editor: Wickham Clayton
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