Iconic Books and Texts

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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Professor in the Department of Religion


There has been a surge in published scholarship on the ritualization of iconic books and other texts in the second decade of the twenty-first century. This chapter draws on these studies to describe the phenomenon of iconic books and texts. Most have focused on scriptures and other sacred text that provide the most extreme examples of iconic ritualization. As a group, these studies covered ritualized texts from a wide range of the world’s religious traditions. They also discussed the classification of such texts, the visual effects of their scripts and fonts, and the social effects of their public and private ritualization. Writing continues to legitimize people, institutions, academic disciplines, nations and religions. These studies show that recognizing the iconic dimension of written texts and how they get ritualized should play an essential part in describing the motives and methods for writing, publishing, marketing, buying, handling, displaying and storing books in any literate culture in the world.

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Watts, James. Iconic Books and Texts. 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=35883. Date accessed: 20 Aug 2018 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35883. Feb 2019

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