Orthodox by Design, a groundbreaking exploration of religion and media, examines ArtScroll, the world's largest Orthodox Jewish publishing house, purveyor of handsomely designed editions of sacred texts and a major cultural force in contemporary Jewish public life. In the first in-depth study of the ArtScroll revolution, Jeremy Stolow traces the ubiquity of ArtScroll books in local retail markets, synagogues, libraries, and the lives of ordinary users. Synthesizing field research conducted in three local Jewish scenes where ArtScroll books have had an impact--Toronto, London, and New York--along with close readings of key ArtScroll texts, promotional materials, and the Jewish blogosphere, he shows how the use of these books reflects a broader cultural shift in the authority and public influence of Orthodox Judaism. Playing with the concept of design, Stolow's study also outlines a fresh theoretical approach to print culture and illuminates how evolving technologies, material forms, and styles of mediated communication contribute to new patterns of religious identification, practice, and power.
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University of California Press
March 13, 2010
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