Serving the Word: Literalism in America from the Pulpit to the Bench
New Press, 2001 - 406 Seiten
Brilliantly observed and persuasively argued, Serving the Word, now in paperback, is an unprecedented look at the prevalence of literalism and the unexpected forms it takes in modern America's religious and secular life.
Hailed as "thoughtful [and] suggestive" (The New York Review of Books), Serving the Word treats literalism as a modern belief system, analyzing its place in two seemingly contrasting fields: Christianity and the law. Moving from wealthy Angelenos who embrace starkly literal readings of the Bible to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's insisting on the narrowest interpretation of legal texts, leading anthropologist Vincent Crapanzano makes a persuasive claim that the attraction to literal certainty that we associate with fringe fanaticism is in fact deeply embedded in American culture.
This "disturbing but important" book (The Washington Post Book World) examines our society's very conception of the truth, and poses basic questions about the state of America's mind and soul.