ISBN : 9780190664701
In this book Vincent Wimbush seeks to problematize what we call "scriptures," a word first used to refer simply to "things written," the registration of basic information. In the modern world the word came to be associated almost exclusively with the center- and power-defining "sacred" texts of "world religions." Wimbush argues that this narrowing of the valence of the term was a decisive development for western culture. His purpose is to reconsider the initially broad and politically charged use of the term: "scriptures" are excavated not merely as texts to be read but understood as discourse: as mimetic rituals and practices; as ideologically-charged orientations to and prescribed behaviors in the world; as structures of relationships and social formations; as forms of communication. Wimbush is naming and constructing a new transdisciplinary critical project, which uses the historical and modern experiences of the Black Atlantic as resources for framing, categorization, and analysis. Using Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart as a touchstone, each chapter offers a close reading and analysis of a representative moment in the formation of the Black Atlantic, regarded as part of a history of modern human consciousness and conscientization. Such a history, he says, is reflected in the major turns in what he calls scripturalectics, part of the construction of the modern world, defined as efforts to manage or control knowledge and meaning.
Introduction: Scripturalectics as Turns in the Human Quest for Meaning
I. Aru Oyim De De De Dei!: Mask-ing Meaning
Ii. Pacification of the Primitive Tribes: Meaning as White Savagery
Iii. We Have Fallen Apart: The Rupture of Meaning
Summary Conclusion: The End of Scriptures, the Beginning of Scripturalectics