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Book: Books as Bodies and as Sacred Beings

Chapter: Books as Sacred Beings

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38099


The tendency of books to be ascribed agency like people and deities leads James Watts, in the last chapter, to explore why that is. Books manifest interiority like people: we speak of both as material containers for immaterial ideas. Books also generate common out-of-body experiences, they can be reproduced in multiple copies, and encountering them often changes us. Books are therefore material artifacts whose common use generates analogies that reinforce widespread hopes for bodily transcendence, resurrection or reincarnation, and theophany.

Chapter Contributors

  • James Watts ( - jwwatts) 'Syracuse University'