The mediation of religious narratives through sacred texts is intimately bound to the power relations involved in their transmission and maintenance. Those who possess such mediated messages and control their access and interpretation have historically held privileged positions of authority, especially when those positions are not easily contested. The 2010 film The Book of Eli uniquely engages these elements by placing the alleged last copy of the King James Version of the Christian Bible at the forefront of a clash between different individuals in a post-nuclear wasteland. This paper, drawing on Max Weber’s notion of “charisma,” and scholars addressing religion, power, and violence, examines the role of authority and the shifting power relations revolving around the possession and use of this sacred text throughout the film. In doing so, it seeks to carry associated implications and critiques outside of the film and into the contemporary world.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.