Revelation Media (Synthetic Scripture)

I caught Karen Heimbuch on a Christian radio ministry on the way up to Syracuse today, at some point between Amy Goodman and Mahler a bit past Roscoe, NY. (You’ve never heard of her.) They were playing cuts from and talking about her recently released 2 volume CD of her dramatic presentations of the Book of Revelation with the London Symphony Orchestra, performed from memory.

From the website,  Heimbuch is described as follows: “Having been in ministry for over 25 years, Karen is a gifted speaker, worship leader, songwriter and dramatic performer. She is a licensed and ordained minister who has traveled extensively in North America and abroad, and loves to inspire and instruct others in the memorization and delivery of God’s Word.

What I found very interesting was how Heimbuch understood the mediaization of Scripture according to multiple tracks. Regarding the Book of Revelations production, she described 4 separate tracks –the symphony, the chorus, the special effects, and “the Word of God” (the most important “track’). She describes how it took 3 years to get it “product ready,” and expressed every confidence that God was behind the production.

Neither the performance nor the cultural politics were to my taste, but I’ll wager that the awareness on her part of media is savvy and that the theory behind it stands up to critical scrutiny. I like attention to production values, the intersection between media and memory, and the idea of synthetic Scripture with its organization of multiple sound clips into a deliverable product. 

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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