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.
David Ganz, University of Zurich and Barbara Schellewald, University of Basle, Switzerland.