James W. Watts: 0000-0002-4872-4986
iconic books, ritual texts, scriptures, book rituals
Comparative Methodologies and Theories | History of Religion | Religion
These concluding reflections on the essays in The Death of Sacred Texts consider evidence that the disposal of secular books also evokes serious concern. There is an inherent tension in most literate cultures between the idea of a book or enduring text on the one hand and the possibility of its disposal or destruction on the other. Disposing of books transgresses inhibitions reinforced by family, school, media, and government. The concern for book preservation involves respect for culture(s), veneration of traditions, and, at its root, the preservation of cultural values. Factors other than information preservation are at work here. The most prominent secular reliquaries are museums and libraries, though private collections also perform this function. The book practices of religious communities can be understood as extensions of the book practices of their wider cultures.
James W. Watts, “Disposing of Non-Disposable Texts,” in The Death of Sacred Texts: Ritual Disposal and Renovation of Texts in the World Religions, ed. Kristina Myrvold. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010, pp. 147-59.