Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaches People To Read

Gutenberg: It is the Ars Minor.
Bishop Adolphus: Yes, it is the Ars Minor.
Gutenberg: A book of grammar. Where is the harm in a book of grammar?
Bishop Adolphus: IT TEACHES
 - "Copy Errors" from The Unwritten #31.5
by Mike Carey and Bryan Talbot

Do you ever get annoyed when a pastor is constantly urging you to read the Bible every day, over and over? I know I do. Look, I've got stuff to do. I don't always have time to do something as mundane as read the Bible.

We really take our literacy for granted sometimes. We should realize that such a pastor is urging us to do one of the most dangerous acts possible: read. Not only that, but to read one of the most controversial, obscene, explicit, graphic, and graphic books out there: the Bible.


One of the mantras of post-modernism textual critiques is the claim that there is nothing outside of the text. This means that how the text is written affects the meaning of the text as much as what is written. Graphic literature exemplifies this with its use of graphic text. The size, shape, color, and placement of the text affects how we read it. Just look at the 2nd panel in the example above. We interpret how Adolphus is speaking quite differently than if the text simply said "It teaches people to read!" in one simple speech balloon.

So what does reading have to do with theology? Well, a lot. Sure, Sunday theology may come from listening to a sermon each week, but Wednesday Theology comes from reading graphic literature. Much of theological discourse in general requires the reading and transmitting of the written word.

Plus, when people asked Jesus a theological question, he tended to respond by asking them about what they had read.

"He said to them, 'Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?'" - Matthew 12:3

"Or have you not read in the law..." - Matthew 12:5

"He answered, 'Have you not read...'" - Matthew 19:4

"Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the scriptures...'" - Matthew 21:42

"And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read...'" - Mathew 22:31

"And as for the dead being raised, have you not read...'" - Mark 12:26

"He said to them, 'What is written in the law? What do you read there?'" - Luke 10:26

Indeed, what do you read there?

So go out, be a rebel, and read something. May I suggest you read some graphic literature?

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