Profit over Prophet? A Critical Analysis of “Moses” in Advertising

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Abstract

This article offers a critical analysis of the figure of Moses in advertising. While representations of Exodus 14 have moved into popular culture through film, the parting of the seas is also a popular, and hitherto unexamined, trope in advertising. The transfer from biblical text to advertising has resulted in one major omission: the prophet Moses himself. In the spirit of Katie Edwards’ (2012) pioneering work on Eve and Genesis 2-3, I am similarly interested in the afterlife of biblical characters in advertising, with a specific focus on Moses. I examine six advertisements, analysing their portrayals in light of the biblical passage and considering their representations of gender and (dis)ability. Drawing on the work of Rhiannon Graybill (2015, 2016), I argue that Moses’ disabilities and unconventional masculinity may account for the prophet’s absence in advertising, and that this absence is connected more broadly to the lack of representation of disabled people in advertising.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Bible and Critical Theory
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Exodus 14
  • Moses
  • advertising
  • disabilities
  • gender representation
  • popular culture

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