Ten Commandments Monuments and the Rivalry of Iconic Texts
James W. Watts: 0000-0002-4872-4986
Ten Commandments, American Constitution, icons, symbolism, monuments, Iconic Book Project, Alabama
Religion | Sociology of Culture
The legal and political controversy over Ten Commandments monuments in the United States involves iconic texts holding a discrete symbolic value compared to texts whose function primarily is to be read. The nation's founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, have also increasingly been turned into monumental icons over the last half-century. The Ten Commandments controversy can therefore be understood in terms of competition among iconic texts for symbolic supremacy. Like the placement of divine images in ancient Near Eastern temples, struggles over the public display of iconic national and religious texts involve claims for their relative prestige in contemporary America.
These claims will be defended by describing the nature of iconic texts and the trend to enshrine American national texts as icons.
Watts, James W. "Ten Commandments Monuments and the Rivalry of Iconic Texts." Journal of Religion and Society, Vol. 6. (2004). The Kripke Center.