Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Common Christs: Christ Figures, American Christianity, and Sacrifice on Cult Television
by Holder, Laura L., Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2014, 156; 3687688
Abstract (Summary)

Shifts in social attitudes towards American Christianity have resulted in a changed representation of Christ figures, specifically in their representation on television. Traditional Christ figures, those who believed in unconditional love and self-sacrifice for the greater good, clung to the church view and were figures of virtue and innocence. Modern Christ figures have become what I call "Common Christs"—people who are less likely to be the image of sinless perfection and more often violent and profane saviors. These modern stand-ins are usually from blue-collar or lower class backgrounds; they are the Christs of the common man. Generally, these Common Christs are in opposition with the dogmatic authority of the Christian church. The storylines that have Common Christs as their heroes often depict the organized religion of the church as an enemy, a negative institution trying to prevent the salvation of the common man by the common man. The purpose of my dissertation is to examine Common Christs as they appear in cult television shows that embrace and make strong use of Christian mythology without being considered Christian television, specifically The X-Files, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and Supernatural, to show how this changed image works as evidence of what I call the development of a textual religion. Ultimately, I hope that my discussion of Common Christs and textual religion will lead into a larger discussion between the academic camps of religious studies, pop culture studies and literary criticism about the importance of cross-disciplinary focus.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stetco, Dayana
Commitee: Andriano, Joseph, Ratliff, Clancy
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, American studies, Multimedia Communications, American literature
Keywords: American christianity, Buffy, Christ figures, Pop culture, Supernatural, Textual religion
Publication Number: 3687688
ISBN: 978-1-321-65565-0
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