The Hollywood Jesus epics re-visualize the gospel story against the anxious backdrops of secularization, cultural pluralism, and moral skepticism. While these epics are often derided for their lack of theological insight, cultural awareness, or aesthetic taste, this article argues for a re-appreciation of the genre's internal pluralism and hermeneutical significance. Focusing on Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings (1927) and Nicholas Ray's King of Kings (1961), it reflects on the epic as a tradition-forming moment in the Jesus story's reception. Both DeMille and Ray offer competing interpretations of Jesus, thus illustrating how the genre functions as a site of christological and hermeneutical reflection. Against this backdrop, I argue for a reinterpretation of the genre and, further, proffer a hermeneutical exploration of cinema more broadly as a central moment in the dialogue between Christianity and popular culture.
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