How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts - James W Watts

How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts - James W Watts

How Books Matter: Three Dimensions of Scriptures

How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts - James W Watts

James W Watts [+-]
Syracuse University
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James W. Watts is Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. He is the author of Understanding the Pentateuch as a Scripture (Wiley Blackwell, 2017) and the editor of Iconic Books and Texts (Equinox, 2013) and Sensing Sacred Texts (Equinox, 2018).

Description

The first chapter presents a model for understanding the ways in which scriptures function. Recent controversies over Ten Commandments monuments and desecrated Qur’ans involve the iconic function of scriptures. Yet traditional and modern scholarship on Jewish, Christian, or Muslim scriptures is ill-prepared to interpret these events because it has focused almost all its efforts on semantic interpretation. Even the increased attention to the expressive functions of scripture does not provide resources for understanding the iconic roles of scriptures. This chapter addresses that gap by theorizing the nature of scriptures as a function of their ritualization in three dimensions—semantic, expressive, and iconic. The model provides a way to understand how traditions ritualize scriptures and how they claim social power by doing so.

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Citation

Watts, James. How Books Matter: Three Dimensions of Scriptures. How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2019. ISBN 9781781797686. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35882. Date accessed: 14 Dec 2018 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35882. Feb 2019

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