Is the Bible losing its covers? Conceptualization and use of the Bible on the threshold of the Digital Order

  • Wido van Peursen Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer, VU University Amsterdam
Keywords: Hebrew Bible, Digital revolution

Abstract

Does the Digital Revolution change our use of the Bible? Can our conceptualization of the Bible as a book that can be read ‘from cover to cover’ stand the transition from the printed to the digital medium? When the Bible is read online, does the lack of a physical object affect the appropriation of the Bible? These questions are addressed from a broad historical perspective. It is argued, among other things, that our conceptualization of text is still strongly rooted in ‘the Order of the Book’ in spite of rapid changes that are taking place. Even if we do eventually arrive at the Digital Order, we still have a long way to go. We are only on the threshold. The question of whether the Bible is losing its covers can be countered with the observation that it did not have covers when it originated. It acquired them only later on, after the invention of the codex (when the production of complete bibles became technically possible) and the printing press (when it became more usual to produce complete bibles). Even after the invention of the printing press it took quite a while before the covers were “discovered” and made effective in reflections about the Bible and in reading practices.

Published
2014-01-24
How to Cite
van Peursen, Wido. 2014. “Is the Bible Losing Its Covers? Conceptualization and Use of the Bible on the Threshold of the Digital Order”. HIPHIL Novum 1 (1), 44-58. http://hiphil.org/index.php/hiphil/article/view/58.
Section
Articles