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, April 4, 2016

Seeing, Touching, Holding and Tasting Sacred Texts

I am hosting a symposium on the theme, "Seeing, Touching, Holding and Tasting Sacred Texts," this Thursday and Friday in Bochum, Germany. The symposium is part of the research of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg at the Center for Religious Studies of Ruhr University Bochum. This year's research theme is "religion and the senses."

The symposium includes the following presentations:

  • “Scripture’s Iconic Touch” by James W. Watts (Syracuse University/Ruhr University Bochum)
  • “Physiological Engagements with a Scriptural Guru: Ritualized Transactions between the Sikhs and Guru Granth Sahib” by Kristina Myrvold (Lineaus University)
  • “Infusions and Fumigations: Therapeutic Aspects of the Quran” by Katharina Wilkens (Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich)
  • “On Instant Scripture, Swallowing Scrolls and Proximal Texts: Some Insights into the Sensual Materiality of Texts and their Rituality in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond” by Christian Frevel (Ruhr University Bochum)
  • “Engaging all the Senses: On the Function of Multi-sensory Uses of Scripture in Jewish Religion” by Marianne Schleicher (Aarhus University)
  • “Seeing, Touching, Holding, and Swallowing Tibetan Buddhist Texts” by Cathy Cantwell (Oxford University/Ruhr University Bochum)
  • “Affect Theory and Iconic Books” by Dorina Miller Parmenter (Spalding University)
  • “The Veneration of the Script and the Cult of the Book: Reflections on what Happened between the Scholarly Realms of Early China and Early Medieval China” by Licia di Giacinto (Ruhr University Bochum)
  • “Neo-Confucian Sensory Readings of Scriptures” by Yohan Yoo (Seoul National University)
  • “‘My living books, my wisdom, my knowledge’: Mani’s Revelation and Manichaean Religious Literacy” by Eduard Iricinschi (Ruhr University Bochum/ Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen)
  • “Noli me tangere? The Evidence of Physical Contact on Western Gospel Books” by David Ganz (University of Zürich)
  • “Sensing Scripture: What Artists’ Books Can Teach Us About Sacred Texts, and Vice Versa” by S. Brent Plate (Hamilton College)

The symposium will take place April 7, 9:00-17;45 and April 8, 9:00-3:00. This event is open to the public.