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.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Death of Sacred Texts

Kristina Myrvold has edited The Death of Sacred Texts: Ritual Disposal and Renovation of Texts in World Religions (Ashgate, 2010) which gathers descriptions of book disposal rituals in a seven different religious traditions: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Japanese Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Sikh. I was honored that she asked me to write the conclusion, in which I muse on some parallels between the religious concerns cataloged in these excellent essays and "secular" worries about the preservation and disposal of books. The authors and chapter titles are:

1 Marianne Schleicher, "Accounts of a Dying Scroll: On Jewish Handling of Sacred Texts in Need of Restoration or Disposal"

2 Jonas Svensson, "Relating, Revering, and Removing: Muslim Views on the Use, Power, and Disposal of Divine Words"

3 Dorina Miller "Parmenter, A Fitting Ceremony: Christian Concerns for Bible Disposal"

4 D. Max Moerman, "The Death of the Dharma: Buddhist Sutra Burials in Early Medieval Japan"

5 Måns Broo, "Rites of Burial and Immersion: Hindu Ritual Practices on Disposing of Sacred Texts in Vrindavan"

6 Nalini Balbir, "Is a Manuscript an Object or a Living Being?: Jain Views on the Life and Use of Sacred Texts"

7 Kristina Myrvold, "Making the Scripture a Person: Reinventing Death Rituals of Guru Granth Sahib in Sikhism

8 James W. Watts, "Disposing of Non-Disposable Texts: Conclusions and Prospects for Further Study"

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