James W Watts [+]
Relic texts tend to be ritualized only in the iconic dimension. They are rare, if not one-of-a-kind, and are in theory not reproducible. Their chief function is legitimation. Owning relic texts legitimizes individuals and communities and conveys a sense of empowerment. Owners use their relic texts to legitimize themselves, their institutions, their nations, and their religions. Losing them can threaten group identity. Individuals, private institutions, and governments sometimes go to great lengths to gain and to keep particular relic texts for themselves.