Publisher description for Beyond the written word : oral aspects of scripture in the history of religion / William A. Graham.

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Counter Explores the nature and function of scripture as a global religious phenomenon. Graham probes the history of literacy, focusing on our relationship to books and the written word in the modern West and its background in Western civilization; he then considers the oral functions of scriptual texts in several major literate traditions in history. Beyond the Written Word examines the problem of scripture and the importance of holy writ and holy word in religious life, concentrating on the unique orality of Indian sacred texts. Using the Hindu case as a paradigm for oral scripture, the study contemplates the oral dimensions of the Qur'an and the Christian Bible. Graham's multi-disciplinary approach makes this work of interest to students of comparative religion, history, anthropology, and philology, and to the clergy of several faiths.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Sacred books History and criticism, Koran Theology, Bible Theology, Word of God (Islam), Word of God (Theology)