Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 11, 1993 - Religion - 306 pages
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The concept of "scripture" as written religious text is reexamined in this close analysis of the traditions of oral use of the sacred writings of religions around the world. Pointing out the central importance of the oral and aural experience of religious texts in the life of religious communities of both Eastern and Western cultures, William Graham asserts the need for a new perspective on how scripture has been appropriated and used by the vast majority of all people who have been religious, most of whom could neither read nor write.
 

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Contents

Writing and Written Culture
11
The Print Textuality of Modern Culture
19
Books Reading and Literacy in the Premodern West
30
Of Written and Spoken Scripture
45
Scripture in JudeoChristian Perspective
49
Holy Writ and Holy Word
58
Scripture as Spoken Word The Indian Paradigm
67
An Arabic Reciting Qurān as Spoken Book
79
The Lively Oracles of God Bible as Spoken Word
117
The Spoken Word of Christian Holy Writ
119
Gods Word in the Desert
126
Hearing and Seeing The Rhetoric of Martin Luther
141
Conclusion
155
Notes
173
Abbreviations
239
Bibliography
244

Revelation and Recitation
81
Muslim Scripture as Spoken Word
96
Voicing the Qurān Questions of Meaning
110
Index of Names
285
Index of Subjects
296
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Page viii - For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are...
Page 5 - ... [F]rom the historian's perspective, the sacrality or holiness of a book is not an a priori attribute of a text but one that is realized historically in the life of communities who respond to it as something sacred or holy. A text becomes 'scripture' in active, subjective relationship to persons, and as part of a cumulative communal tradition.

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