Janes, DTS (2016) The Wordless Book: The Visual and Material Culture of Evangelism in Victorian Britain. Material Religion: the journal of objects, art and belief, 12 (1). pp. 26-49. ISSN 1751-8342

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The Wordless Book is widely used today in programs of Christian teaching and evangelism across the world. It consists of a series of blank pages which are colored in accordance with religious symbolism (black in reference to sin, red in reference to the redeeming blood of Christ, and so forth). It is employed as a way of engaging those who cannot read the words of the gospel, particularly the very young and the illiterate. It was employed by British and American missionaries from the later decades of the nineteenth century in Africa, India, China and elsewhere. This article explores the context of the invention of The Wordless Book by Charles Haddon Spurgeon and its popularization by Dwight L. Moody. Firstly, it is explored for what it can tell us about the visual culture of Christian evangelism in the second half of the nineteenth century. Secondly, it is considered as a mass-produced material object that was circulated together with hundreds of thousands of Christian tracts. However, unlike their textually rich companions, the books without words have not been preserved in library collections. The study, therefore, of the appearance and subsequent disappearance of Victorian wordless books also provides us with valuable insights into the perceived importance of texts and abstract images during this period.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Material Culture: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief on 19 May 2016, available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17432200.2015.1120085
Uncontrolled Keywords: Charles H. Spurgeon, Dwight L. Moody, tracts, Baptists, Britain, nineteenth century, images, color, colour
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 May 2016 08:49
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2019 13:09
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/1770

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