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Books as Bodies and as Sacred Beings

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In this volume an international team of scholars address the theme of books as sacred beings from an impressively diverse range of primary material and perspectives. Yet, as a group, they meld to engage and advance previous research to solidify the conclusion that human cultures, especially religious groups, often ritualize bodies as sacred books and books as divine beings. The studies collected here not only increase the range of examples of this phenomenon. They also show the wide variety of ways in which the identity of books, bodies and beings gets both ritualized and theorized. The articles are bracketed by an introduction to the collection, and then by a concluding essay that extrapolates the theme of books as sacred beings on a more general level.

Published: May 1, 2020


Section Chapter Authors
Chapter 1
Introduction James Watts
Chapter 2
Body Building in the Hindu Tantric Tradition: The Advantages and Confusions of Scriptural Entextualization in the Worship of the Goddess Kali Rachel McDermott
Chapter 3
Embodying the Qu’ran Katharina Wilkens
Chapter 4
Saints’ Lives as Performance Art Virginia Burrus
Chapter 5
Performing Scriptures: Ritualizing Written Texts in Seolwi-seolgyeong, the Korean Shamanistic Recitation of Scriptures Yohan Yoo
Chapter 6
Aspiring Narratives of Previous Births: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Written and Visual Media in Ancient Gandhara Jason Neelis
Chapter 7
Sacred Texts and the Digital Turn: Reflections on Scriptures as Material Objects in a Liminal Age Bradford Anderson
Chapter 8
Daoist Writs and Scriptures as Sacred Beings: With a Focus on Cosmological Meaning Jihyun Kim
Chapter 9
Christ and/as the Book: Icons and Iconographic Substitution of the Word Dorina Parmenter
Chapter 10
Books as Sacred Beings James Watts