The Bible (or others) as book (physical object)

joseftu

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Being something of a book fetishist myself, I'm intrigued by an exhibition at the Huntington Library (too bad I'm on the other side of the country!), "The Bible and the People," exploring the history of the book that we call the Bible--its status as a physical, obtainable object, and how that object has been regarded through history.
Our story begins in the eleventh century, when the Bible was available only in expensive, hand-copied manuscripts – the exclusive property of clerics and a small Latin-educated elite, nearly all male. Manuscript Bibles could be breathtakingly beautiful, but they could also be inaccurately transcribed and confusingly formatted, their constituent books in varying sequences, their chapters and verses unmarked. As active participants in a Bible-saturated culture, ordinary people were familiar with scripture, but not as a text to read or a book to own.
Our story ends, however, in a very different world: the current Bible marketplace, with its extraordinary number of translations, formats, and versions designed to appeal to readers of every age, race, native language, reading ability, and budget. Today the Bible is the best-selling and the most widely distributed book in the world.
What kind of Bibles (or other religious texts) do you own as physical objects? Does it matter to you whether it's leather-bound or paper? Pocket-sized or massive?

Lately I've been reading a lot of "books" on my Palm Pilot--so these "books" have no true physical existence. But some of my favorite objects are physical, bound, books--and even the smell of a large collection of used books can give me a certain thrill of excitement.

One other thought--I have a guilty addiction to the "Reality TV" and "Home Improvement" shows we have here in the US ("Trading Spaces," "While You Were Out" and so on), and the thing I constantly notice in the homes on these shows is how very, very, few books I see. Usually there are none at all. Do people even have books in their houses? My main "home decorating" concern has always been finding enough shelf space for the stacks, piles, of books which are always littering my living space.

Hoping for some discussion of any of these ideas!
 

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Namaste joseftu,


thank you for the post.

let's see... i think that i have 4 Bibles... KJV, NIV, NIV Study and New American.

most of my religious literature, as you might imagine, is from the Buddhist and Taoist religious paths. in my experience, the web information on Buddhist sutta/sutras and Taoist texts is not as extensive as the print media, especially with regards to the Taoist texts.

i used to be a huge Sci-Fi reader... 30 gallon garbage bags full of the little paperbacks :) i don't really read that genre of literation any longer.

as it stands right now, i've kept two series of Sci-Fi books, one based on game called ShadowRun and the others from an author named Harry Turtledove, who does alternate history stuff.

in any case, i've two book cases currently full of religious and science texts.. with some art and poetry and so forth, thrown in for good measure. heck, i even have a "book" that i made myself, i.e. securing permission from websites and cobbleing together a wide ranging Buddhist source text.
 
Actually, I would consider my Strong's as much the more important - if that makes sense. :)

I usually use a Gideon's KJV for reference, but Strong's is such a completely useful reference tool - pretty brilliant.
 
The strange thing with me and the bible and religious texts... I look at them and regard them very much as books, but I don't own any. I have Xerox photos of manuscripts that I could stack to the ceiling, and print outs of books and digital media, but none of the actual books.

But I think that has more to do with me being a cheap bastard. I'm a book fetishist. If I had to pick a public place to have sex it'd be the library. I use to go every week. And I have four floor to ceiling shelves filled in my house and a storage trailer with three more.
 
I, too, am surprised and occasionally appalled by the fewness of books in the homes of others. I have an entire room in my condo dedicated to my library, but my poetry collection takes up half a wall in my living room. I have other categories of books there also, including books on writing and references and dictionaries, as well as gardening books, field guides, and books on music by my patio door.

I have books on psychoactives and on sexuality in my bedroom, where smaller eyes can't pry easily when they visit.

My library contains a collection of books on subjects as diverse as shamanism, art, medicine and healing, science fiction and fantasy, graphics novels, spiritual direction and counseling, history, occultism, archaeology, environmental issues, the Celtic world, ancient law, and the hard sciences. I have a considerable stack of magazines and periodicals on everything from writing to politics.

I have a Bible or two, sacred books of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism, sacred texts from the ancient Near East, various Wiccan and Pagan Books of Shadows, and source texts (an entire wall) for my own studies of early Celtic religions. I have a broad collection of books on world mythology that could be considered sacred texts as well.

I will admit I don't understand people who don't read. I know there are some who have difficulty with it -- those with dyslexia or other input problems, for instance. I know also that there are some who say they have no time to read, but they seem to spend a great deal of time in front of the television or watching movies despite this lack of time. Then again, I'm one of those weirdos who used to read (and sometimes still does) the covers of boxes or can labels if I'm exceedingly bored and it's the only thing around ;) I spend quite a bit of my non-writing time reading fanfiction. I do a lot of writing of both fanfiction and non-fiction, as well as writing poetry.

I once forced myself to read a romance novel because it was the midwatch, and it was either that or technical training manuals. *shudder*

My entire life revolves around words. Though my spiritual path has no "sacred" texts, we do revere knowledge, eloquence, and wisdom, and in our culture, these often come through wide reading.

I suppose, in my own way, I consider all texts sacred to some extent, merely because they *are* texts. There's something holy to me about holding a book in my hand -- form and format don't seem to matter so long as it's printed. One of the most terrifying books I ever remember reading was Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I remember wondering which books I would memorize if I lived in a society like that, and being devastated at the loss it would represent to the world to live in such a culture.

Hmmm... you know, I could get an entire essay out of this kind of meandering ;)
 
A visitor to my house these days would not see all the books I have because most of them are in our basement office. I'm actually sad about this set-up because I love books and my dream is to turn our living room into a library. I would love floor to ceiling shelves and especially a big, plain good ole library table right in the middle of the room. And a comfy chair (no! not the comfy chair!). But, the dream has to wait until the little ones, who love to pull any and all books down off the shelves, are not so little any more. Plus the living room is packed full of toys.

As consolation I have a large shelf of books in our upstairs guest room, where I keep all my current reading and favorite reference books. I'm looking to build my interfaith book collection, so if anyone has any suggestions... As it is I have only one bible (the NIV Study Bible), which I bought two years ago when I did a bible study. My husband has the KJV (I'm not sure he realizes he owns this, but he does). I have an extensive collection of Baha'i books from my walk with Baha'u'llah (I highly recommend The Seven Valleys to anyone with a mystical leaning), one book on Buddhism which I now think is probably not a very good one (Buddha, compiled by Paul Carus), and a smattering of other books on religion.

The hardest part about being a Mom of preschoolers is not having as much time to read. I spend more of my time online because it is less of a committment than a book! I love to buy and own books, and I also hope to have more time for browsing used bookstores when the kids get older.
 
Kindest Regards!

Oh my! I have a number of Bibles for reference, and a couple for sentimental reasons. My "teddy bear" has my study notes and marks, has the binding fixed with heavy tape, smells like transmission fluid (long story) and has been across the country with me multiple times since I acquired it in the very early '80's. It is a Gideon's KJV. I also keep for reference an Interlinear, a Companion, and a Peshita versions of the Bible. My sentimentals are my Mother's Catholic Bible, my Grandmother's Bible (she was into Christian Science, the Mary Baker-Eddy kind), and my Grandfather's simple little KJV.

I must agree with Brian, in that my Strong's Concordance is definitely one of my main study resources. Next is "The Two Babylons."

The greater portion of my books pertain to gardening and living off the land, a la "Mother Earth News" and Rodale Press publications. And things like some of the Peterson's Guides, "Wild Edibles", "Medicinals", etc. I put a lot of effort at one time in my life trying to self teach herbs, so I have quite a few books on that subject. I don't have very many "story books", fiction, I spend too much time trying to learn. But I have a few, "Hanta Yo" and "My Side of the Mountain" quickly come to mind. I also have a few copies of Boy Scout handbooks (different years), Scoutmaster's handbook and Explorer's handbook. And a couple of military manuals on survival stuff.

My library used to be in my Grandfather's garage. A set of shelves he built, with glass front doors. I recently rebuilt it and cleaned it up, put decorative hinges on it and a bottom to raise it off of the floor. It sits proudly in my computer room.

Next up I want to get one or two sets of barister bookcases, to hold my growing collection of school texts and comparative culture and religion books!
 
b'shalom all,

why is it not surprising that people that enjoy forum communication also enjoy books?

in any case... my single largest collection of books is my comic book collection (they're Graphic Novels, Joel*). i started as a youth and collected them for nearly 20 years. i even owned a comic book store, back in the day.

all told, i'd say that my collection is near the 30,000 book level... with duplications of certain issues and titles... hey, i was a collector, after all :)

don't get me going on the sports cards and non-sports stuff. i've moved quite a bit in my life and i can tell you, all of my friends dread that day. books weigh alot for their size :)


*way inside reference to a show called Mystery Science Theater 3000!
 
Lately (thanks, Ebay!) I've even taking to replacing old books that have "disappeared" from my collection. These are not really classics (except to me) or any kind of rare collector's editions. They're just the same editions that I remember holding in my hands when first discovering new (to me) authors or genres. Have Spacesuit Will Travel, in the 1958 Scribner's library binding with the illustration on the cover, and the starfield endpapers...ahhh! :) It brings me right back to third grade.
 
hi BB,


yep... that's not really an issue though... it's attachment for said possessions that makes the real difficulty :)

i was doing these sorts of things long before i was a Buddhist though...

at any rate... i'm in the market to sell them... so... if you or anyone else knows an aspiring young comic book store owner that would like to spend some money to get a wonderfully diverse inventory, send 'em my way!
 
joseftu said:
What kind of Bibles (or other religious texts) do you own as physical objects? Does it matter to you whether it's leather-bound or paper? Pocket-sized or massive?

QUOTE]

Is it okay, if i only quote this part and answer regardingly )
... damn freewill ...
Quran (3 of it), bible (2), older testament version of it and some others. What do you think? I think its quite important 'how' the holy book looks. I wouldnt mind paperpack or papyrus, though the cover should be .. different.. you know what i mean, "IT should say that there's something different in me!" as soon as you grab it, or sneak peak it )

I dont know i wouldnt mind if it was all white and down under little red label that has only the name of the book on it.

Pocket sized or massive?
M A S S I V E !
:rolleyes:





.... when you read nothing remains ...
 
Vajradhara said:
hi BB,


yep... that's not really an issue though... it's attachment for said possessions that makes the real difficulty :)

i was doing these sorts of things long before i was a Buddhist though...

at any rate... i'm in the market to sell them... so... if you or anyone else knows an aspiring young comic book store owner that would like to spend some money to get a wonderfully diverse inventory, send 'em my way!
hello vajradhara,
sorry i can not definately make myself refined, however i am trying...
bb could be wrong about not owning obssession/possessions that you now have. But i still think you as a money oriented person which in your belief doesnt seem to be a higly acceptable virtue, jewish is more closer..
why not give away those sort of things to some comic book fans to cheer up their small souls? wondering if you really need that money that you will gain from garbage sales?








fcuk m8, i cant hold my tongue
 
Namaste PersonaNonGrata,

thank you for the post.

Glad to see you made it back from Athens hale and whole. tell me, did you enjoy your trip? did you get to see the opening or closing ceremony?


PersonaNonGrata said:
hello vajradhara,
sorry i can not definately make myself refined, however i am trying...
bb could be wrong about not owning obssession/possessions that you now have. But i still think you as a money oriented person which in your belief doesnt seem to be a higly acceptable virtue, jewish is more closer..
why not give away those sort of things to some comic book fans to cheer up their small souls? wondering if you really need that money that you will gain from garbage sales?
oh, it's not "garbage" sales, my friend. the collection is quite extensive and valuable :)

i regularly give away copies of duplicate titles to friends and others that express an interest in the genre.

if you believe that i am a money oriented person, then you do not know me very well :) that's ok, this is only an internet chat forum and it can be quite difficult to get a proper understanding of another being through the medium.

we now get to an area that makes me a bit uncomfortable.... ones altruistic deeds should not be flaunted, in my view. nevertheless... to get to the crux of the issue... my intention is to donate the money from the sale of the books to several charties which i regularly donate to currently.

don't misconstrue the Buddhist tradition, though. it's not about not having things... we need things in our life to make it happen, it's about attachment to those things... and being content with what we have rather than always craving more.

if you happen to be a rich person, that is not a problem. being attached to your money is. see the difference?
 
athens virtues we have and the holly books

selam vajradhara,

unfortunately i couldnt be in athens during the ceremonies. (because of my dear new career plan i have undertaken). but i always enjoyed greece as i really could see how turks would be if we have chosen to be an orthodox instead of muslims. (or was it girl that was in my car that thought that) and yeah enjoyed the ride as well, as i was accompanied with 2 girlfriends of mine )))

i guess i'll start with richness regarding to your post. being a rich person is always debateable i think. am i rich? i dont know. am i hungry no? do i have somewhere to live yes. hmm then
let me quote a fine quote from my grandad (rip, el-fatiha):
So there is this fisherman, he had a hut near the sea, cooking delicious fishes for himself and occasionaly for the adventourous visitors that came to nearby ancient village in the forest. One day a mr. rich was visiting the village and having heard of the fame of the fishes that our fisherman made, he made a visit to him.
After finishing the most delicious fish he has ever eaten, he turns to the middle aged fisherman and says "you know what why dont you open up an eating house in the village, you can do more business there".. Fisherman,not surprised, says "so?"
"So?" replies the Richie, "so you can expand your business, you can open up a new restaurant"
Again the old man (?) says, "yeas, and then what?"
"And then what?? You will be owner of a restaurant, if all goes well you can open a very nice restaurant in the city later, oh man you sure will earn more money than now"
"I see, then what, what will i do next?", he asks...
"So you'll have money. Even, you can buy a boat and sail and rest in the ocean"

The old fisherman smiles, and says "do you see the boat over there... " ok you get the idea right ?

Oh ok ) richness, why the money is for? I dont know really. If, honestly, i have 30.000 dollars for myself, im retired. Im all in s.e.asia in an island resting, thinking, eating, smoking and probably writing... Is this the meaning of life.. i have dont know. but it all depends on one's self right?
You are so true about not giving them away, and i can see that its actually none of my business to tell you what you should do with your valuable goods, but the thing is if we cant practise what we believe then beliefs seems so cheaty, right?

How are the budhist scripts anyway? The holy writings of budhism (in general as there are hundreds of sects inside;) Are the covers enriched with gold? Not being sarcastic, honestly








... Ive seen golden statues of Buddha in oppose to hungry humans live nearby ...
 
Re: athens virtues we have and the holly books

Namaste PersonaNonGrata,

thank you for the post.


PersonaNonGrata said:
selam vajradhara,

unfortunately i couldnt be in athens during the ceremonies. (because of my dear new career plan i have undertaken). but i always enjoyed greece as i really could see how turks would be if we have chosen to be an orthodox instead of muslims. (or was it girl that was in my car that thought that) and yeah enjoyed the ride as well, as i was accompanied with 2 girlfriends of mine )))
too bad that you couldn't see the ceremonies... but, congratulations on your new career path :)

i guess i'll start with richness regarding to your post. being a rich person is always debateable i think. am i rich? i dont know. am i hungry no? do i have somewhere to live yes.
i think that richness is very relative. i'm extraordinarly rich, if you compare me with a farmer in Uganda, for instance. i'm exceedingly poor if you compare me to a business owner. i'm being general here for our discussion. i know that there are rich farmer and poor buisness owners :)

hmm then
let me quote a fine quote from my grandad (rip, el-fatiha):
So there is this fisherman, he had a hut near the sea, cooking delicious fishes for himself and occasionaly for the adventourous visitors that came to nearby ancient village in the forest. One day a mr. rich was visiting the village and having heard of the fame of the fishes that our fisherman made, he made a visit to him.
After finishing the most delicious fish he has ever eaten, he turns to the middle aged fisherman and says "you know what why dont you open up an eating house in the village, you can do more business there".. Fisherman,not surprised, says "so?"
"So?" replies the Richie, "so you can expand your business, you can open up a new restaurant"
Again the old man (?) says, "yeas, and then what?"
"And then what?? You will be owner of a restaurant, if all goes well you can open a very nice restaurant in the city later, oh man you sure will earn more money than now"
"I see, then what, what will i do next?", he asks...
"So you'll have money. Even, you can buy a boat and sail and rest in the ocean"

The old fisherman smiles, and says "do you see the boat over there... " ok you get the idea right ?
crystal clear, mon ami :)

You are so true about not giving them away, and i can see that its actually none of my business to tell you what you should do with your valuable goods, but the thing is if we cant practise what we believe then beliefs seems so cheaty, right?
i don't know. there are some beliefs that are challenging for all beings and others that are easily accepted and implemented. i suspect, as with most things, it's very individual.

How are the budhist scripts anyway? The holy writings of budhism (in general as there are hundreds of sects inside;) Are the covers enriched with gold? Not being sarcastic, honestly
oh, i would imagine that some are. just like all religions.. you've got folks that enjoy putting time and attention into things that aren't all that important. my Suttas and Sutras, however, are all quite plain :)
 
I've got a total of 10 versions of the bible...different wrappers, that is including my kids. Including some duplicate versions due to the parallel bibles...fav Llamsa...other books in the house include the gita, some vedas, the prophet, number of 'new age' from castenada and das, to redmund and ruiz. Modern eastern.. Dali LLama, Chopra, Dwyer, Covey, Hanh, Tolle, Yogananda... and there is a Quran and the Book of Mormon, and then the health books and business books, more fun books 'The Monk who Sold his Ferrari.." Not to forget the business books, entrepreneur stuff, marketing and motivational, architectural and construction....and everytime I fly I buy some adventure, spy, cops and robber intrigue...for some reason planes induce pulp fiction...

haven't got to the ebook age yet...

and with the cost of ink and printers, seems to me books are cheaper...especially from the resellers and overstocks...
 
Namaste all,


well... this isnt' really the right place... but, since we are talking about books...

i had the chance to visit a rare and used book store in Maine a few weeks ago.. to my great delight, i found several classic books in pristine shape.

i picked up a "Nature of the Universe" by Holye, circa 1900.
a copy of "Origin of Species" by Darwin from 1889, a book of Lord Byron from 1879, a copy of a series of letters by Zen Master Haikiun from 1790 (this is a reprint of that text, circa 1900) and a few others... i think a Tenneyson book and something else.

they had a huge arrangement and supply.

i was really interested in the Jewish Talmud from the Babylonian Captivity circa 1880, but it was quite expensive as it spanned nearly 12 volumes.

anybody else interested in old and rare books?

metta,

~v
 
Old and rare books are awesome! Maybe it's because I come from a religion that first independently identified itself around the time that writing was starting to happen in the region, or maybe not, but in either case, I love old and rare books. I have a few, but mostly too esoteric to deserve mention. And going into a used bookstore is heaven. There's one book I want, a sci fi book, called the Songs of Muad'dib, that I've never found, but I don't think I've searched hard enough either. It's by Frank Herbert and I think is supposed to be something analogous to psalms as existing in the Dune universe.

Every week the library at my school gets new used books and I always look through and sometimes pick things up. A dollar a book, and they get good books too. Often out of print. Sometimes not.

Dauer
 
A book as a "friend" more than a physical object:

Well I do have several Bibles I like to use for reference as well as other Holy Books... I think of these books more as living entities in a way... Each time you read them they can have different significances and "speak" to you...to your soul. There's a reason the term "People of the Book" came about.

Any book that encourages reflection is more than a physical thing by itself I believe.

Also there are books that were once owned by friends and picking up one of these books previously owned by a friend is like visiting them. So i have an old Baha'i Prayer Book (1941) that was owned by a friend of mine who is in the spiritual world and so these memories and associations of him come back.

Of course I own several Baha'i Books.

Some of the best bound books I think are of the Qur'an so the workmanship and quality are usually the best.

Probably the oldest book I have is a book of poems by John Dryden and it is well over two hundred years old and has type set that resembles an early King James Bible. There's a miniature size book of Milton's Paradise Lost that's a few hundred years old and the interesting about it is that it's in such good condition... but reading these books is also a little like going back in a time machine... You can sort of visualize what the world was like two or three hundred years ago.

- Art
 
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