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Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States$
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Seth Perry

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179131

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179131.001.0001

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“Write These Things in a Book”

“Write These Things in a Book”

Scripturalization and Visionary Authority

(p.86) Chapter Four “Write These Things in a Book”
Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States

Seth Perry

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines visionary accounts as a form of performed biblicism that made particularly dramatic claims on relationships of authority, focusing on the ways in which they participated in the scripturalized environment of the early national period. The mechanisms of this scripturalization are analyzed in early national visionary texts. The chapter first explains how print-bible culture defined the generic and formal terms of what a visionary text should look like, thus providing models for latter-day visionaries, before discussing the tendency of visionaries such as Chloe Willey to make direct citation of the Bible. It then considers the visionary texts' preoccupation with literacy, with writing itself, and with the written presentation of revelation. Finally, it reviews the history of The Vision of Isaac Childs, a visionary text of the nineteenth century, to illustrate the operations and effects of the scripturalized terms of visionary authority in the early national period.

Keywords:   visionary accounts, performed biblicism, scripturalization, print-bible culture, visionaries, Chloe Willey, Bible, The Vision of Isaac Childs, Isaac Childs, visionary authority

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