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Xena: Warrior Princess: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Volume 21

Posted by RonPrice 
Xena: Warrior Princess: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Volume 21
December 16, 2010 03:59AM
After I had finished teaching ancient Greek history in the early 1990s to matriculation students and just before retiring from full-time teaching in 1999, Xena: Warrior Princess appeared on the lighted-chirping box. The problem of religious plurality has been explored not only in philosophical and theological works, but also in popular culture. Xena: Warrior Princess explores this issue par excellence in her several mythological milieux of which ancient Greece is but one. The series ran for six seasons with the syndication beginning in 1995. By the time the series concluded in 2001 I had retired from full-time teaching in Western Australia, had taken a sea-change to Tasmania and was on a pension.

The beautiful and relatively unknown Lucy Lawless stars as Xena. She journeys through the ancient world and interacts with seminal figures, stories, and ideas from various religious and mythological traditions. The television series constructs the stories in a way that makes provocative suggestions about the truth and usefulness of religion in general, about the truth-claims of specific religious traditions, and about the ontological relationships among the metaphysical claims of various religions. The various answers to the problem of religious plurality suggested in Xena: Warrior Princess are compared to standard philosophical and theological approaches.

As globalization has brought religious communities into greater contact with one another and religious diversity to the forefront of public awareness, the problem of religious plurality is addressed not just in philosophical and theological treatises, but also in popular culture texts.. The Xena character was created as an evil warlord and temptress in the series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The spin-off series involving Xena begins with Xena undergoing an unexplained conversion in which she renounces evil and resolves to spend the rest of her days doing good in order to atone for the misdeeds of her past. Over the course of six seasons of episodes, Xena interacts not only with the gods of classical Graeco-Roman mythology, but also with key figures from several of the worlds religious traditions, through story lines that construct complicated relationships among the religious and mythological systems involved.

Xena does not interact with Islam. This is quite understandable. Islam did not emerge until the sixth century C.E. Though Xenas travels through the Xenaverse cover a span of roughly 1200 years of Earth history, they end long before the sixth century. So when Xena travels through what we now know as Islamic territories, she encounters either the pre-Islamic jinn or the kind of comic-book stereotypes of pre-Islamic Arabia that caused Arab activists to protest Disneys Aladdin film.-Ron Price with thanks to David Fillingim, By the Gods or Not: Religious Plurality in Xena: Warrior Princess, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Volume 21, No.3, Fall, 2009.

As I was finishing my career as a teacher
a Xenaverse appeared where all religions
and mythologies were true, but some were
truer than others in the lighted-chirping box.
Despite Xenas preference to remain aloof
from spiritual concerns and promote a wide
pragmatic humanism, both Christianity and
Hinduism both turned out to be true in the
most ultimate of senses. It should not be a
surprise that Hinduism and Christianity both
received top billing in a TV series that capped
the 20th century. After all, in the 20th century,
it was through the influence of Tolstoys take on
Jesus teaching that the Hindu Gandhi awakened
to the way of satyagraha. And it was in the Hindu
practice of Gandhi that the Christian Martin Luther
King, Jr., saw the non-violent love of Jesus.....This
process was described as passing over and coming
back-the spiritual/ethical stance for a post-Auschwitz,
a post-Hiroshima, post-modern world, that is our own.

Xenas pragmatic, humanistic commitment
to the good of others guides her interactions
with the spiritual traditions she encounters...
To blindly accept religious authority or any
other authority for that matter is dangerous
so went the wisdom of this television oracle.
But a stance rooted in one tradition, open to the
collective wisdom of other spiritual and ethical
traditions & sources, and committed to the good
of all people promises the best possibility for us
to meet the ethical challenges in this very very
globalized techno-bureaucratic age: amen! Xena!

Ron Price
13/3/'10 to 17/7/'15.

PS This is the 2nd edition of this prose-poem. The author is a Canadian living in Australia and has been a Bahá'í for 50 years.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2015 09:06AM by RonPrice.
Re: Xena: Warrior Princess: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Volume 21
July 17, 2015 09:08AM
Since no one has responded in the last four years, I'll add an item while here on the subject of TV:
--------------------------------------
TELEVISION STUDIES: AN OVERVIEW

Television studies is an academic discipline that deals with critical approaches to television. Usually, it is distinguished from mass-communication research, which tends to approach the topic from an empirical perspective. Defining the field is problematic; some institutions and syllabuses do not distinguish television studies from media studies. Some study programs classify it as a subfield of popular culture studies.

Television studies is roughly equivalent to the longer-standing discipline of film studies in that it is often concerned with textual analysis. Analyses of so-called "quality television," such as Cathy Come Home(BBC drama 1966) and Twin Peaks( USA drama, 1990), have attracted the interests of researchers for their cinematic qualities. However, television studies can also incorporate the study of television viewing and how audiences make meaning from texts, which is commonly known as audience theory or reception theory. My own experience of television studies has been part of my film and media studies as a teacher in colleges of advanced education(CsAE), technical and further education colleges(Tafe) and, finally, a school for seniors. This experience covered the years from 1974 to 2004, from my 30s to my 60s in Australia. For more go to: [www.ronpriceepoch.com]
Re: Xena: Warrior Princess: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Volume 21
March 09, 2017 10:08PM
Cool deal Ron. I loved Herc & Xena. Actually, HTLJ is my favorite show ever.

I find it sad these 2 shows are not aired anymore. Herc defined the 90s & changed TV forever.

Let's review. No Herc, no Xena. No Xena, no Buffy of Angel. If we did have these shows there
are countless vampire,magic, fantasy, or any other new age shows that wouldn't have come to be.

Herc also was around for many beginnings (including the Olympics & lighter).

As far as "she (Xena encounters either the pre-Islamic jinn or the kind of comic-book stereotypes of pre-Islamic
Arabia that caused Arab activists to protest Disneys Aladdin films."


I would have thought they'd spend more time protesting Jasmine's wardrob. In real life she never could
have worn that skimpy little thing.


If I close my eyes forever...
Will it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever...
Will it all remain the same?

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