Booting up books

The codex will survive

Hardly a day passes without someone declaring the death of the book. Recently Lisa Miller of Newsweek viewed an electronic edition of the Bible that was replete with linked maps, a commentary and dictionary, and 700 paintings depicting biblical scenes. Astonished almost as much as Moses at the sight of the burning bush, she sputtered, “This is the beginning of the end of the Word.”

Those of us who care about the church and its future may rest easy. Theologically, the future of the Word as the Bible remains assured. That is because the God met in Israel and Jesus Christ acts in history, and the church (as well as the synagogue) can give no remotely adequate account of its faith and practice without resort to the memory of a story, a story that has been preserved via the spoken and written word. So reading media may change, but reading and “the book” will live as long as anything like Christianity survives.


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