ReviewsSensing Sacred Texts, edited by James W. Watts, offers a feast for the eyes and the imagination by introducing its readers to a range of ways that sacred texts engage the senses of those who read, hear, venerate, taste, touch, smell, and look at them. The third volume in a series from Equinox Publishing on “Comparative Research on Iconic and Performative Texts,” the book’s ten essays examine examples of the sensory dimension of scriptures in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Confucianism, and undertake a broader consideration of the sacred status attributed to texts – and to books in particular – in religious and secular cultures alike. Not only do the essays highlight the crucial role played by the material qualities of sacred texts for processes such as identity formation, the establishment of cultural boundaries, and the recruitment of affect, the volume’s thirty-eight full-color images will make you want to reach out and touch, taste, or smell the sacred texts in question for yourself.
An important contribution to the study of sacred texts, both on a descriptive, analytical and theoretical level. This collection of essays will likely appeal to scholars interested in religious practices relating to sensing sacred texts and how the sensory element relates to the semantic dimension.