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Miniature Books

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Miniature books, handwritten or printed books in the smallest format, have fascinated religious people, printers, publishers, collectors, and others through the centuries because of their unique physical features, and continue to captivate people today. The small lettering and the delicate pages, binding, and covers highlight the material form of texts and invite sensory engagement and appreciation. This volume addresses miniature books with a special focus on religious books in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The book presents various empirical contexts for how the smallest books have been produced, distributed, and used in different times and cultures and also provides theoretical reflections and comments that discuss the divergent formats and functions of books.

Published: Sep 25, 2019


Section Chapter Authors
List of Figures Kristina Myrvold
Religious Miniature Books: Introduction and Overview Kristina Myrvold, Dorina Parmenter
Chapter 1
Ritualizing the Size of Books James W. Watts
Chapter 2
On the Functions of Miniaturizing Books in Jewish Religion Marianne Schleicher
Chapter 3
Words in a Nutshell: Miniaturizing Texts in Early Modern England Lucy Razzall
Chapter 4
Small Things of Greatest Consequence: Miniature Bibles in America Dorina Parmenter
Chapter 5
Diminutive Divination and the Implications of Scale: A Miniature Quranic Falnama of the Safavid Period Heather Coffey
Chapter 6
Mite Qurans for Indian Markets: David Bryce in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Kristina Myrvold
Chapter 7
Miniature Qurans in the First World War: Religious Comforts for Indian Muslim Soldiers Kristina Myrvold, Andreas Johansson
Chapter 8
Size Matters! Miniature Mushafs and the Landscape of Affordances Jonas Svensson
Chapter 9
Gitamahatmya! Paratexts in Miniature Bhagavad Gitas with Special Reference to Pictures and Gender Jon Skarpeid
Chapter 10
Sutras Working in Buddha’s Belly and Buddhists’ Pockets: Miniature Sutras in Korean Buddhism Yohan Yoo, Woncheol Yun
End Matter
Index Kristina Myrvold


For those readers looking into the history of the tiny volumes for the first time wondering why miniaturise, Miniature Books presents multiple, eloquent answers, while also offering intriguing new perspectives for an audience already well-versed in the subject. Shifting from the traditional literature on miniature books to new cultural and historical research perspectives this book explores the format and the functions of miniature religious texts considered sacred in the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions.
Written by experts in the fields,
Miniature Books succeed in highlighting the minuscule objects from the cabinet of the collectors to the files of the researchers, a study journey across both historical and contemporary contexts.

Overall, the editors and contributors have provided a welcome and thought-provoking addition to the study of iconic texts. By looking at miniature books, the semantic dimension of religious texts is decentered and questions about the format and function of the books in miniature receive attention that is often missed with standard sized books.
Reading Religion