More than Reading: Materializing the Bible

Guest Lectures in Comparative Culture Studies Presents James S. Bielo, Miami University

Abstract: What happens when the words of scripture are transformed into physical, experiential environments? This talk explores this question through the lens of two genres of Bible-based attractions: gardens and theme parks. While these two genres of place seem widely separate, they similarly perform the Christian imperative to make scripture ‘come alive’ and use rhyming strategies to do so. Ultimately, a comparative analysis of biblical gardens and theme parks suggests that materializing the Bible is a response to a fundamental problem animating Christian tradition.

Bio: James S. Bielo is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Miami University. He is the author of Words upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Bible Study (NYU Press, 2009), Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, and the Desire for Authenticity (NYU Press, 2011), Anthropology of Religion: The Basics (Routledge, 2015), and editor of The Social Life of Scriptures: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Biblicism (Rutgers Press, 2009). As a teacher-scholar at Miami, Dr. Bielo teaches courses in cultural and linguistic anthropology, ethnography, religion, American communities, and transnationalism.

For any questions contact Andreas Bandak or Martin Demant Frederiksen

Organized by Centre for Comparative Culture Studies, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies