Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts 2021-11-03T10:27:00+00:00 Brad Anderson Open Journal Systems <p>This journal is devoted to the academic study of scripture around the globe and is the official journal of SCRIPT, the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Society for Research on Iconic and Performative Texts</a>. It deals with the rich panoply of engagements with texts that are foundational in the lives of individuals and communities around the world -- texts that travel under the name of 'scripture' or 'sacred' text. It aims to open up the discussion of sacred texts by crossing traditional boundaries, bringing different disciplinary tools to the process of analysis, and opening up a sustained dialogue between and among scholars and others who are interested in religion, textuality, media and mediation and the contemporary world. <a href="">Learn more about this journal.</a></p> Introduction 2021-06-29T14:29:43+00:00 Amanda Dillon 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mapping the (Digital) Terrain 2021-11-03T10:26:49+00:00 Bradford A. Anderson Amanda Dillon <p>This essay maps out some of the different ways in which the Bible intersects with digital culture, particularly in its written or textual dimensions. Four broad categories are used to give shape to the discussion: (1) the emergence and development of digital Bibles; (2) the use of digital biblical texts in religious services, liturgy, and other congregational contexts; (3) the intersection of biblical research and digital culture in academic scholarship; and (4) the iconic function of the digital biblical text in social and cultural contexts. What emerges is a picture of a diverse interrelationship between the Bible and digital culture, though not surprisingly, this is more evident in areas where there is a focus on the “text” rather than on material dimensions often associated with the sacred book.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Smartphone Applications and Religious Reading among Swaminarayan Hindus 2021-11-03T10:26:31+00:00 Bhakti Mamtora <p>This paper examines how two prominent digital sacred texts, Vachanamrut Study App and Swamini Vato Study App, shape reading and meaning-making practices among members of the Swaminarayan Sampraday in the United States. By analyzing the design and use of applications, I argue that smartphone applications are pedagogical tools that integrate offline modes of textual study and simplify access to the meanings of the teachings. The historical, contextual, and paratextual features of smartphone applications reinforce that the study of sacred texts is an intentional, conscientious, dialogical, and gradual process—a process that enables individuals to fulfill their religious aspirations.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. The Bible as my Witness 2021-11-03T10:26:42+00:00 Dorina Miller Parmenter <p>Digital Bibles, recently available in a variety of formats on electronic devices such as phones, tablets, and e-readers, have prompted discussions among Christians about their Bible-reading preferences and analyses by scholars about the outcomes of different kinds of biblical reading practices. Rather than focusing on the semantic dimension of users’ encounters with biblical texts in various media, this paper will consider how digital Bibles relate to Christians’ concerns about biblical visibility, or the act of being seen reading a recognizable Bible. In some cases, digital Bibles are lauded as exceeding the benefits of the printing press to spread God’s word throughout the world, for they can operate subversively and inconspicuously in circumstances where being seen with a print Bible is hazardous or undesirable. But in other contexts, Christians are encouraged to abandon their invisible digital Bibles and enact visible performances with their iconic print Bibles as an essential aspect of witnessing.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Satguru’s Word, Online and Offline 2021-11-03T10:26:38+00:00 Anna Bochkovskaya <p>This essay discusses offline and online representation of the Avtar Bani—a controversial sacred text of the Sant Nirankari Mission (“Universal Brotherhood”) listed by mainstream Sikh authorities as one of the six most “dangerous” religious organizations/sects in present-day India, which is understood to undermine the religious and moral values of Sikhs. Since its publication in 1957, the Avtar Bani has been used by Sant Nirankaris as an alternative to the Guru Granth—the sacred scripture of Sikhism. Mainstream Sikhs consider the Avtar Bani derogatory to the Sikh faith and demand that it be banned by the Punjab government. Nevertheless, copies of the text are kept in Sant Nirankari temples in Punjab and beyond; and yet, unlike the Sikh scripture, they have never been iconized. In the past decade, online representation of the book has become quite popular owing to Sant Nirankari Mission’s efforts to use digital technologies for promoting its ideology, especially among the Punjabi diaspora.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Mark’s Ending in the Digital Age 2021-11-03T10:27:00+00:00 Mina Monier <p>In approaching the classic problem of Mark’s ending, it has been assumed that there was no stone left unturned. However, the dawning of the digital age has proven otherwise. As part of the SNSF–funded project MARK16, I have studied the complex evidence of Mark 16’s textual transmission to understand the scribal textual decisions. This was followed by electronic transcription of the studied material as part of the digitization process. I will argue, in the first part, that the hitherto neglected paratexts and codicological remarks provide rich evidence on the dynamics of the Endings’ reception, conception and later transmission, being inextricably interwoven with patristic interpretation. As a result, I will provide two new witnesses to the Shorter Ending, embedded in a commentary text. In the second part, I will show how transmitting this complex evidence through electronic transcription is another stage in line with earlier scribal experience that problematizes established categories in scholarship.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Facebook and Martin Luther 2021-11-03T10:26:56+00:00 James W. Watts <p>It is widely believed that the ease of internet publishing in the early twenty–first century has undermined respect for expertise, raising fears of interpretive anarchy in popular discourse about science, politics, and morality. The internet has increased access not only to information but also to the means of publication. The results have been intentionally and unintentionally disruptive to politics (growing demagogic nationalism) as well as to various kinds of businesses (such as newspapers). These developments, however, are not unprecedented, except perhaps in scale. They are the typical social side effects of introducing new media technologies. New media have historically fueled populist movements in religion and politics, as a review of Christian history shows. It also shows that the new media then get used to recreate methods for reasserting the interpretive authority of experts. These rival tendencies are generated by the three-dimensional nature of all written media. These social consequences are therefore intrinsic to writing’s use ever since its invention five thousand years ago.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Sacred Texts and Their Subjects, Now and Then 2021-11-03T10:26:45+00:00 Mark K. George <p>As the digital revolution extends to the ways people encounter sacred texts such as the Bible, a change is underway both with respect to the texts and to the readers of them. Technologies offer (i.e., afford) possibilities to their users, and these alter the ways in which those users understand and form themselves. Thus, print Bibles create different types of readers than do digital Bibles, even if the content of the Bible does not change. These changes are disruptive for some yet also offer new possibilities for the Bible and its readers. This article considers several affordances of print and digital Bibles before turning to a consideration of how those of digital Bibles are likely to change the subjectivity of readers.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Eat, Shit, Scar 2021-11-03T10:26:53+00:00 J. Sage Elwell <p>By leveraging two metaphors central to discussions around the digitization of sacred texts—“books are bodies” and “translation is feeding”—this essay contends that the translation of analog sacred texts into digital formats is a metaphorical gastrointestinal process. This essay accomplishes this through the application of actor-network theory. Central to actor-network theory is the claim that an object, like a book, is the product of a complex network of relationships that together create it and constitute its meaning. Importantly, this includes discourses about the very networks that yield the object in question. As such, this essay incorporates many of the voices that appear elsewhere in this special edition as well as assorted ephemera from my own medical history of gastrointestinal maladies. If books are bodies and translation is feeding, then problems surrounding the digitization of analog sacred texts reside somewhere between ingestion and excretion.</p> 2021-11-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd.