symbols of vision

Thomas G. Kirsch 2006. Visions and Evidences. Prophetic Scripture and a ‘Crisis of Representation’ in Zambia. Visual Anthropology 19 (2): 105-122.

“This article examines the role of indigenous concepts of visuality in an attempt by contemporary African Christians in Zambia to stabilize charismatic authority by means of a new prophetic scripture containing drawings of visionary revelations. It is demonstrated here how the chains of referentiality by which church leaders sought to authorize themselves and the scripture involved paradoxes of visuality that eventually led to the demotion of the scripture and its ‘author’. Since the scripture was said to depict what could also be observed by stargazing, its indexical function became obsolete once people accepted the indexed as reality.”