The notion that the Bible has authority has been very significant in statements of faith and constitutions of many churches and Christian movements. Yet understandings of what textual authority might mean are inevitably different when the text is expressed in different media. Concepts of textual authority that have dominated understanding of such church documents have been drawn almost exclusively from print-dominated cultures. Yet, in addition to a historical progression from oral to written, from scroll to codex (at least in Christian circles), and from manuscript to print, the biblical text has always been variously mediated. Oral and written mediations of the text existed alongside each other since the precanonical phase. The biblical manuscript tradition remediated (Bolter's term) the text in many ways, adding spaces between the words, adding commentary around the text, illumination and other "decorations".
Contemporary remediation of the Bible is even more varied and extensive. In print medium a plethora of consumer Bibles each mediates the text in distinct ways, as each also imitates earlier mediations of the authoritative text. From early renderings of the Bible in audio tape and video film, more recently digital delivery and production of such non-written media has enabled an explosion of non-written biblical "texts".
This paper examines the "technologies of authority" (the term used in different fields by Akkermans and Schwartz, Katznelson and Zolberg, Salmón Muñiz, and Tatlock) that different mediations of the biblical text utilise. It will also explore how the concept of "aura" (Benjamin) throws light of discussion of biblical authority in an electronically dominated media culture. It then attempts to generate a framework for understanding how notions of the (biblical) text as authority interact with changes of medium.
Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. The MIT Press, 2000.
Katznelson, Ira, and Aristide R. Zolberg. Working-Class Formation: Nineteenth-Century Patterns in Western Europe And. Princeton UniversityPress, 1986.
Salmón Muñiz, Fernando. “Technologies of Authority in the Medical Classroom in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries.” Http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/text. http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=1312778.
Tatlock, Lynne . “Authority, Prestige, and Value: Professionalization in the Musicians' Novels of Wolfgang Caspar Printz and Johann Kuhnau .” In The Construction of Textual Authority in German Literature of the Medieval and Early Modern Periods . Edited by James F. Poag and Claire Baldwin. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2001.
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