Books as Bodies and as Sacred Beings
Human cultures, especially religious groups but also secular artists and performers, often ritualize bodies as sacred books and books as divine beings. An international team of scholars addresses this theme of books as sacred beings in this volume through an impressively diverse range of primary material and perspectives. These studies show the wide variety of ways in which books, bodies, and beings intermingle in material sacred texts manipulated by human bodies, and also in literary and artistic depictions of transcendent textual bodies. The boundary between material immanence and spiritual transcendence turns out to be very thin indeed when people use books. The chapters on specific book practices in different cultures are bracketed by an introduction to the collection and by a concluding essay that extrapolates on the widespread theme of books as sacred beings.
Published: Oct 18, 2021
This collection challenges readers to think more expansively and daringly about books/texts and what beyond content-meanings they are about or, in my view of things, are made to mean or do. Such phenomenological interests are important in terms of making the attempt to fathom as widely and as deeply as possible the ongoing dynamics and effects of human-making. The volume will be of interest to scholars working in areas having to do with the history and theory and problematics of reading, of books, of embodiment and dynamics of sacralization.
Vincent L. Wimbush, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Signifying Scriptures