Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Yoo on Korean Scripture Reading Rituals

Yohan Yoo, in “Public Scripture Reading Rituals in Early Korean Protestantism: A Comparative Perspective,” Postscripts 2.2-3 (2006) 226–240, describes the importance of public Bible readings for the spread of Christianity in early twentieth-century Korea. His case study shows clearly how the performative dimension of scriptures can aid cross-cultural transferals of scriptures.

The particular ways in which the Bible was read in the Korean context contributed to the growing number of converts to Christianity. Bible readings in the context of study groups in early Korean Protestantism facilitated the absorption of Christianity into Korean culture by building on traditional religious practices and by offering a way for native Koreans to take the lead in the growth of the new religion. (p. 226)

In the Korean Bible study meetings, the contents of the read words was given performative force by the ritualization of the reading experience and the ritualization of the Bible itself. (p. 237)

The full article can be read here from Equinox publishing.

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