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Design and the digital Bible: persuasive technology and religious reading

TitleDesign and the digital Bible: persuasive technology and religious reading
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHutchings, T
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion

This article analyses two ‘digital Bibles’, products that allow the user to engage with the Bible through the screen and speakers of his/her mobile phone, tablet or computer. Both products, ‘YouVersion’ and ‘GloBible’, have been created by Evangelical Christian companies. I argue that both are designed to train the user in traditional Evangelical Christian understandings of the work of reading. Digital media offer new opportunities to guide and influence the user, and this article applies the concepts of ‘persuasive technologies’ and ‘procedural rhetoric’ to analyse the design intentions of the two digital Bibles. This approach helps us to appreciate the significance of the material form of a sacred text as a vehicle for religious socialisation and raises important questions about the potential for digital media to re-shape traditional relationships of power in Evangelical Christian communities.