The Bible as Medium | Thesis Chapter 4
I'm posting chapters of my masters thesis on Scripture in a Digital Context. See more here.
One of my favorite places to visit in Chicago is the world-class Art Institute, and over the last decade I've often stopped in when I could free an afternoon (although much harder to do now it changed to from voluntary donation to mandatory fee). Among my many favorites there is Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte, whose clever paintings are the perfect pair to the media ecologist's mindset. Repeating the insights of priest-scholar AKM Adam, I start this chapter with Magritte's portrait, The Tune and Also the Words, and how it perfectly illustrates the question that drove my thesis "If the Bible is not a book, then what is it?"
But there's a lot more work in this chapter. I next seek to explicate the basic stages of communications media history: and I try to put this in parallel with the use of Christian Scripture in each stage. This resource didn't really exist, and so simply compiling this chart took a long time in my research. It was a great tool for getting overall understanding, however. I cover:
- Oral: The Patriarchs
- Early Chriographic: Sinai and the Giving of the Law through the Exile
- Early Chriographic 2: Jesus and the Early Church
- Later Chriographic: Church Fathers
- Early Print: Protestant Reformation
- Later Print: Wesley; American Tract Society
- Electric: North American Christianity
- Electronic / Mass: Global Christianity
- Digital: Glocal Christianity
Finally, having shown that the Word of God to the People of God has often not been a Book, I propose my own theological definition of Scripture. Broadly set and drawing on language from both theology and communication theory, I say that Scripture is "the mediated revelation of the incarnation of Jesus Christ and its illocutionary intent in salvation-history."
Nerdy? Yep! But this is an exciting part for me. Try it out.
- Chapter 4 The Bible as Medium p55-78 (pdf, 1.4mb)