Scripturalizing the Human is a transdisciplinary collection of essays that reconceptualizes and models "scriptural studies" as a critical, comparative set of practices with broad ramifications for scholars of religion and biblical studies. This critical historical and ethnographic project is focused on scriptures/scripturalization/scripturalizing as shorthand for the (psycho-cultural and socio-political) "work" we make language do for and to us. Each essay focuses on an instance of or situation involving such work, engaging with the Bible, Book of Mormon, Bhagavata Purana, and other sacred texts, artifacts, and practices in order to explore historical and ongoing constructions of the human. Contributors use the category of "scriptures"—understood not simply as texts, but as freighted shorthand for the dynamics and ultimate politics of language—as tools for self-illumination and self-analysis. The significance of the collection lies in the window it opens to the rich and complex view of the highs and lows of human-(un-)making as it establishes the connections between a seemingly basic and apolitical religious category and a set of larger social-cultural phenomena and dynamics.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Scriptural-izing: Analytical Wedge for a Critical History of the Human Vincent L. Wimbush 1. Literally Creative: Intertextual Gaps and Artistic Agency James S. Bielo 2. The Bible in North American Folklore Brian Malley 3. Fragmenting the Book of Mormon Imaginary Daymon Mickel Smith 4. Simultaneity in Global History José Rabasa 5. Cast out of the Garden: Edenic Scripturalization, Flowers, and Fallen Africa Grey Gundaker 6. Authorities of Scriptural Technologies in America Lars Kirkhusmo Pharo 7. From Sanskritization to Vernacularization: Subaltern Inscriptions of Bodies and Landscapes Barbara A. Holdrege 8. Inkface: The Slave Stigma in England’s Early Imperial Imagination Miles P. Grier 9. Copts, Scripturalization, and Identity in the Diaspora Saad Michael Saad and Donald A. Westbrook
Vincent L. Wimbush is the director of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures and is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature.