ReviewsThis important collection of essays from James W. Watts fills in many gaps left by previous studies of books in general, and religious scriptures in particular, that prioritize meaning in influence of specific words without consideration for the physical media and performative affects surrounding those words.
The wide range of topics addressed and examples used in this volume demonstrate its usefulness to scholars in multiple fields that deal with how and why the phenomena of books and texts, especially those with the status of scripture, exert influence and authority in individual lives and social groups. For those who are already familiar with Watts' writing, this volume adds additional nuance to his previous studies and the numerous illustrations act as a helpful resource for further investigations.
This is an immensely important work that brings together a vast array of information that is sure to challenge widely shared assumptions and stimulate deep thought. The breadth of the author’s knowledge and insights is stunning, and his juxtaposition of different traditions cannot help but draw attention to how much we have in common, even with those from whom we most firmly differentiate ourselves. It will be hard for anyone to come away from this book, or even its individual chapters, without having learned something about other traditions and, often, one’s own.
Biblical Theology Bulletin