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, June 17, 2024

Four Books on Iconic/Material Books


Brad Anderson has highlighted the twenty-first-century academic trend of studying material texts and iconic books. In Reading Religion, he points out four books that illustrate the illuminating results of paying attention to a book's form, appearance, material, symbolism, and ritual use. 

Anderson points readers to two collections that laid the basis for this movement: Iconic Books and Texts (2013) and Kristina Myrvold's The Death of Sacred Texts (2010).

Then he points to two monographs that apply a material books perspective to different traditions: David Stern's The Jewish Bible: A Material History (2017) and Natalia Suit's Qur’anic Matters: Material Meditations and Religious Practice in Egypt (2020). 

Let me add that current research along these lines gets showcased in the programming of The Society for Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts (SCRIPT).

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