Beyond Barthes and Chartier: The Theology of Books in the Digital Age

Elia, Anthony J.

The purpose of this paper today is to create a discussion about the book-object and its place in both the theological-libraries world and the broader book-reading world. This is a discussion which involves our understanding of the book in its individual, cultural, and literary contexts, and provides us with a framework to perform our librarianship as participants in a world with both books and e-texts. Through the results of my study, the scholarship of Roland Barthes and Roger Chartier, and the examples of literature, I will offer my colleagues in the theological library world a guide to the discursive jungle of textual media; a palate of considerations about the book-object, seen often as obsolescent; and an opportunity to develop a theology of books in the digital age; a theology of books, because books are at the core of our history and the construction of a world view around them and their existence is imperative at this stage of our profession. It is a matter of taking into account the very heart of the book issue and the digitization issue, whatever these may be



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Burke Library
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December 5, 2011