segunda-feira, 20 de janeiro de 2014



Scribe Valdemir Mota de Menezes

It may seem like an embarrassingly simplistic question.
You know, after all, how you're reading the letters of Paul.
You're probably reading them as a book between covers.
But when we think about it, there are various kinds of Bibles and Bible
translations, various kinds of books.
And Bible publishing is a major industry in the US.
You might be reading the letters of Paul in the HarperCollins Study Bible.
The cover of it is an aged parchment color to remind you, perhaps, that
this is an ancient and venerable text, or maybe to emphasize that this
version of the Bible is used for people to understand the ancient
historical context.
The bottom line of the cover associates this translation with the
Society of Biblical Literature.
You're supposed to take this Bible seriously.
It's not only authorized, but also authoritative.
But you could equally read the letters of Paul in Revolve, which imitates a
glossy fashion magazine.
It contains the New Testament interspersed with advice on dating and
short interpretations of scripture passages.
The New Testament text is stable, but this Biblezine comes
out in multiple editions.
There are versions for girls, for teenage boys, and for
young adults as well.
These two very different examples--
the HarperCollins Study Bible on the one hand and Biblezines on the other--
help us to think about the Bible and Paul's letters as objects, just as
we've been thinking about the materiality of letter writing in the
ancient world.
Studying literature as an object tells us something about how that literature
is used and circulated.
It's an object with a social life, even a biography.
If an archaeologist found both of these covers, the HarperCollins Study
Bible and Revolve, 2,000 years from now, she probably wouldn't think they
were part of the same book.
And if she did, she would recognize that they were the same but perhaps
aimed to different audiences, that these two covers show different ways
of persuading audiences and of authorizing the text within them.

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