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The Bible in American Life$
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Philip Goff, Arthur Farnsley, and Peter Thuesen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190468910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190468910.001.0001

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Literalism as Creativity

Literalism as Creativity

Making a Creationist Theme Park, Reassessing a Scriptural Ideology

(p.292) 25 Literalism as Creativity
The Bible in American Life

James S. Bielo

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that literalism can be understood as a source of creative possibility, not merely a restrictive interpretive practice or textual ideology. The argument is advanced based on ethnographic fieldwork with the creative team in charge of conceptualizing and designing a creationist theme park. For the creative team, materializing the biblical text of Genesis was tethered to the entertainment imperative of immersing an audience. In pursuit of this, their creative labor relied on an ever-expanding intertextual universe of potential reference, inspiration, and information. The team had to negotiate a series of intertextual gaps that emerged between the limited detail provided by scripture and their engagement of nonscriptural texts. Ultimately, this chapter contributes to the comparative, interdisciplinary work of this book by highlighting not just how the Bible is read but how it is experienced.

Keywords:   North America, fundamentalism, literalism, creativity, intertextuality, entertainment

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