The idea of the Bible

These texts weren’t reading material; they functioned atropaically—as amulets, talismans, good luck pieces. These Bibles were owned, touched, tucked away, treasured. But not read. The idea of the Bible mattered more than its content.

From my vantage point, that attitude toward the Bible is ubiquitous, even for folks whose Bibles are big. A lot of verbage gets thrown around about the Bible (its perfection, its authority, its goodness) that makes sense only if you don’t read it—or read it seriously.

Julia O’Brien writing about an exhibition of small bibles she saw at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore