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According to a longstanding interpretation, book religions are agents of textuality and logocentrism. This volume inverts the traditional perspective: its focus is on the strong dependency between scripture and aesthetics, holy books and material artworks, sacred texts and ritual performances. The contributions, written by a group of international specialists in Western, Byzantine, Islamic and Jewish Art, are committed to a comparative and transcultural approach. The authors reflect upon the different strategies of »clothing« sacred texts with precious materials and elaborate forms. They show how the pretypographic cultures of the Middle Ages used book ornaments as media for building a close relation between the divine words and their human audience. By exploring how art shapes the religious practice of books, and how the religious use of books shapes the evolution of artistic practices this book contributes to a new understanding of the deep nexus between sacred scripture and art.
Arabic calligraphy is at once an expression of piety, aesthetic sensibility and artistic discipline. Muhaqqaq was an early term which captured care and meticulousness in writing. It was associated with the making of manuscripts of the Qur'an-a sacred task and one which helped to give the new-Islamic order both identity and coherence muhaqqaq emerged in the eleventh certury as the name for one of the six Classical scripts. This is the first book devoted entirely to the muhaqqaq tradition. Nassar Mansour, himself a highly respected calligrapher, here traces the development of muhaqqaq as a script. From his analysis of medieval manuscripts he has created a new 'copybook', a traditional teaching aid used by calligraphy students. No such copybook for writing muhaqqaq has ever survived from the medieval era or the early modern period. Mansour also presents his own work in muhaqqaq, illustrating the stages of development of each piece and thus providing an insight into the calligrapher's art. This book is an invaluable and beautifully executed reference work on the art of Islamic calligraphy. Muhaqqaq is a venerable and striking script of enormous historical interest which yet offers contemporary possibilities, whether on paper for artistic pieces or on stone as a form of architectural expression. This book will attract students of Islamic calligraphy, art historians and practitioners alike, as well as collectors and aesthetes. --Book Jacket.
Reading the Sacred Scriptures: From Oral Tradition to Written Documents and their Reception examines how the scriptures came to be written and how their authority has been constructed and reinforced over time. Highlighting the measures taken to safeguard the stability of oral accounts, this book demonstrates the care of religious communities to maintain with reverence their assembled parchments and scrolls. Written by leading experts in their fields, this collection chronicles the development of the scriptures from oral tradition to written documents and their reception. It features notable essays on the scriptures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Daoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Shinto, and Baha'i. This book will fascinate anyone interested in the belief systems of the featured religions. It offers an ideal starting point from which undergraduate and postgraduate religious studies students, teachers and lecturers can explore religious traditions from their historical beginnings.
Insightful quotes written in Tibetan calligraphy are paired with photos of Buddhas from around the world to create this collection of timeless iconography. Calligraphy holds an honored place in the spiritual traditions of Tibet. Buddhist monks train for years to master the art and use the sacred writing form as a method of meditation. Each stroke of the paintbrush and each deliberate use of empty white space carry the weight and meaning of centuries of spiritual tradition. Over the last few years, the Tibetan written language has become increasingly endangered. In an effort to raise awareness about the value and beauty of this ancient and sacred language, classically-trained calligrapher Tashi Mannox has written mantras and words of wisdom in elegant Tibetan calligraphy and paired them with photos of Buddhas from around the world taken by Robin Kyte-Coles. The photos provide a scenic and global backdrop to meditate upon, and the calligraphy provides the spiritual wisdom to guide one s meditation. A journey through Eastern symbology, "Inspirations from Buddha "provides a unique selection of visual and written pairings that invite meditation, thought, and spiritual reflection. The stark lines, ethereal beauty, and timeless quality of Eastern symbology will help readers to discover the truth of meaningful emptiness."
Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts is the first comprehensive study of the role of languages and texts in the religions of the Greco-Roman world, including Judaism and Christianity. It explores bilingualism, language learning, literacy, book production and translation, as well as some of the more explicitly religious factors, including beliefs about language, missionary zeal, ritual, conservatism and the power of a priestly establishment. Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts sheds new light on the role of the power of words, spoken and written, in religion.

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