Reading into Religion

"Reading into Religion" looks at book culture, print culture, and reading in American religion, exploring how authors, publishers, texts, and readers are involved in spiritual and religious lives.

What’s the difference between a book club, a church book club, and a Bible study group? The answer doesn’t lie in the books, the people, or the discussion, but in the results.

The limits of adaptations raise some fascinating questions for how we treat texts, both sacred and secular – especially regarding the adaptation of sacred texts for children, like the Bible.

What makes reading “religious”? The answer may lie in the theatrical term “the fourth wall,” which separates audience from story, and in the moments that shatter that wall.

Looking beyond the moment of writing or the moment of reading allows us to think about the places where we introduce or censor religious ideas, and the continuing debates regarding the promotion and restriction of certain narrative symbols and elements.

Taking a look at religion and book culture means going beyond sacred texts, to fictions, memoirs, self-help books, pamphlets, and commentaries – but it also means looking at the material qualities of books, the infrastructures of reading, and the actions and reactions of readers.