Archives of Reception of the Bible

Past blogging in more ways than one.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SBL paper

A few bloggers posted their abstracts for SBL a while ago, taking the risk that their papers might be rejected and 'never' be delivered (ok, overstatement, I know). Lacking their confidence, not to mention their organisational abilities, I didn't post either of the two abstracts I submitted. Well, one has now been accepted and here it is. The session is Holly Hearon and Richard Swanson's Bible in Ancient and Modern Media - the topic, Johnny Cash, of course. I might also add that the paper has the longest title of any I've ever written.

‘The Apocalypse of John and Its (Many, Modern) Mediators’: John of Patmos’ Apocalypse (c. 80-100CE), Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around (2002CE), Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead (2004CE), and the videographers of YouTube (2006-08CE).

William John Lyons (University of Bristol)

Johnny Cash’s description of his 2002 song, The Man Comes Around (from his American IV album), as being ‘based, loosely’ on the Apocalypse of John is in fact a considerable understatement. The song quotes verbatim from that and other biblical texts, echoes a number of its most important apocalyptic motifs, and effectively moulds John of Patmos’ material into a functional, available, and culturally significant ‘mini-Apocalypse’. The formal relationship between the song and its ‘parent’ texts and Cash’s own characterisation of his role in mediating between the two are first briefly examined. The paper then critically analyses the ongoing impact of the book of Revelation – as mediated through the song and its first significant soundtrack outing in Zack Snyder’s zombie film, Dawn of the Dead (2004) – upon a specific media set, the growing number of YouTube videos that are being created to illustrate Cash’s ‘mini-Apocalypse’ (2006-present). Finally, certain aspects of the early impact of John of Patmos’ own Apocalypse are re-considered in the light of the assumptions and processes that have been observed within this modern chain of traditions.


At 2:07 pm, Blogger Carmen Andres said...

what a great idea for a paper! congratulations.

At 3:45 pm, Blogger John Lyons said...

Hi Carmen,

Glad you like it. It has certainly been great fun to work on. Good to hear about the Sarah Connor use of this. The show has just started in the UK, but I'll keep an eye open for that episode.


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