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.)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Materializing the Bible

James Bielo and Amanda White have created a website that catalogs Bible-based attractions around the world. Materializing the Bible locates and describes 145 attractions that "create material environments directly inspired by biblical texts." The welcome introduces the project in words very similar to those that headline this blog: "People do more than read Bibles. They use the written words to make material environments. What happens when the Bible is transformed across different media?"

Bielo and White catalog the attractions under seven headings: Creation Museums, Re-Creations, Transmission Museums, Holy Land Replicas, Archeology Museums, Gardens, and Art Collections.  A customized Google Map allows viewers to see their distribution by region and by category.

This website is a valuable demonstration that such Bible attractions are widespread and deserve to be understood as a typical phenomenon, especially when we remember that the stations of the cross and art collections in Catholic (and many other) churches are smaller and much more numerous iterations of the same phenomenon. This catalog of Bible-based attractions should stimulate research on their religious and social functions.