One of my favorite things about books is not just reading them but holding them. Especially old books. I love the feel of a book in my hand that many people have read before me. There’s that musty bookish smell when you flip through the pages. There’s the worn out covers and notes in the margins.
When you read a book like this you feel like you are walking a well-worn path that many others have trod before.
And it is precisely this sort of experience that is absent with the arrival of modern e-book technology. Whether we are reading on a Kindle reader or off our tablets (or smartphones), the book has ceased to be a physical object and has become a nebulous, bodiless text.
To be clear, I am not saying this new technology is wrong. But I am saying there is something missing with it. Especially when it comes to the Bible. We forget that the Bible was a physical object. It is an artifact with a physical/archaeological history.
And when we remember the physical history of the Bible–particularly through the manuscripts left behind–we can learn much about its origins and how it was put together. These manuscripts can be a “window” into the development of the biblical canon.
It is theme that will be the focus of my upcoming lecture, “The Artifacts of Canon: Manuscripts as a Window into the Development of the New Testament.” This will be part of the Tarwater Lecture series at Queens University–a series designed to explore the intersection between faith and the sciences.
The lecture will be 5PM, Monday Oct 2nd, at the Duke Energy Auditorium in Rogers Hall, on the campus of Queens University. You can learn more about it and register here. There’s limited seating so I encourage you to register as soon as possible.
Last week I did an interview with Mark Thomas on WBT radio about the upcoming lecture. It aired early Sunday morning but you can listen to the podcast of the interview below: