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Time and Antiquity in American EmpireRoma Redux$
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Mark Storey

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198871507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198871507.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 September 2021

Dominion without End

Dominion without End


(p.135) { 3 } Dominion without End
Time and Antiquity in American Empire

Mark Storey

Oxford University Press

The first of three chapters on specific popular genres, it considers the intimacies of religion and empire through a cluster of key texts that engage with retellings of the ancient Christian story. The chapter begins with Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, taking the compound of Romanized spectacle and Christianized moral economy as the basis of American imperial politics. Closer consideration of three texts, separated by 130 years—by Lew Wallace, Gore Vidal, and William Ware—generates not just local case studies of how assertions of ahistorical Christian moralism have been aligned with politically contingent American sovereignty, but forms an initial claim about how “Christian fiction” more generally theorizes a specific historical temporality both inimical to conventional ideas of progress and yet wedded to American civilizational superiority.

Keywords:   Christian novel, Passion of the Christ, Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace, Gore Vidal, William Ware

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