Jesus in pop culture -- From Phillip Seymour Hoffman's ''Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train'' to the indie flick ''Jesus' Son,'' the entertainment world is full of religion

By Lori L. Tharps
August 04, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Holy millennium! First, Broadway resurrected Jesus Christ Superstar in April, then CBS performed a ratings miracle with its Jesus two-parter in May. Also following in His footsteps: Peter Jennings, whose recent Search for Jesus attracted 16.6 million viewers. Meanwhile, the indie flick Jesus’ Son is winning critical praise, and quasi-Christian rockers Creed’s spiritual anthem ”Higher” is in Billboard’s top 10. Even Off Broadway has seen the light: Philip Seymour Hoffman is directing the prison drama Jesus Hopped the ”A” Train (until Aug. 20), and a revival of Godspell is in previews. What’s driving Jesus’ pop-culture cachet? Says Steven Waldman, editor in chief of, ”People have always been interested in Jesus, but now major media leaders have discovered Jesus draws.” Too bad He couldn’t provide salvation for Bible-toting Survivor casualty Dirk. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.