In a move away from what has been referred to in critical scholarship as the Protestant presuppositions in the study of religion and religious texts, this collection of essays lays out a rich landscape of attitudes and significations with regard to sacred texts underscored especially in their ritualized modes of disposal. While traditional discourse on sacred texts has an almost exclusive focus on the written content and the interpretive enterprise that “extracts” their historical contexts and embedded messages, these essays shift their focus onto the wider textual field in order to capture “the ritual procedures by which people enliven their texts within their communities, and create, renovate, preserve and dispose of texts” (2). Readings from, among others, Wilfred C. Smith, Miriam Levering, Catherine Bell, and Karin Barber help frame a fascinating trajectory for the eight essays. Potential inclusions in this theoretical frame will be noted below. Rather than decoding what the texts say or convey, the shift in focus throws light on what people—as recipients and religious insiders—do with texts, as well as the scriptural economies that undergird these textual gestures. Marianne Schleicher (ch. 1) proposes that in the case of Jewish sacred texts, the Torah as artifact
Biblical Interpretation – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2013
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