“Seeing ‘That of God’ in Texts: Christian Practices for Training in Perception”
Cobb, Christopher. “Seeing ‘That of God’ in Texts: Christian Practices for Training in Perception.” Christianity and Literature 58, no. 2 (Winter 2009): 243–51.
Cobb’s paper focuses on the study of religious practice and its value for Christian literary scholars of conscious reflection. He hopes that “given the religious turn in literary scholarship, Christian scholars might be able to enrich that turn by providing explication of faith and theology not accessible to secular scholars who lack intimate experience of the former or intimate knowledge of the latter” (244). Noting that the profession of literary studies has socialized its members to see certain features of texts and disregard others, Cobb encourages a reflective examination of scholars’ own, individual sensibilities. He selects Christian Science as an example of how significant differences from secular norms are revealed when religious practices shape readers’ perceptions. Christian Science teaches a direct imitation of Christ that stresses Christ’s emphasis on watching over one’s thinking. This dual process of imitating the Mind of Christ and monitoring one’s own thought proposes to accomplish healing, affecting not just sensibility but all bodily sensation. Cobb concludes that imitative reading is not as banal as often depicted; in fact, it may challenge some conceptions about reading based entirely on secular assumptions.
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