Liturgy on the Cusp of Secondary Orality: Marshall McLuhan and Messianic Judaism


  • Paul Vermeesch


This paper starts of lightly and playfully, before suddenly plunging the reader into a never-before considered What-If scenario regarding the ultimate allegiances of media theorist Marshall McLuhan. Arguing that McLuhan’s understanding of human sense-ratios may have qualified him to be a better candidate for Messianic Judaism than Roman Catholicism, precisely to the degree that the former favors primacy of the ear over the eye in a way that is complicated by the latter’s use of imagery, the author makes a first-ever claim (for McLuhan scholarship) that the Canadian media theorist may have felt equally at home, and equally a fish out of water, in a Jewish congregation than in a Catholic cathedral. Provocative and resonant in the McLuhan rhetorical Jameson Award Winners: Arts and Communication tradition off a scholarly “probe,” this piece reveals its author to be both remarkably gifted at research, synthesis, and integration, and to be startlingly gifted at deriving new theses worthy of serious consideration. Marshall McLuhan once said that God was a “ceaseless invitation to wonder,” and this paper’s effect is precisely that: a surprisingly fresh invitation to wonder at a highly plausible “What-If” scenario that never came to pass. With a bibliographic citations page of thirty entries, the paper is sufficiently substantive in its scholarship and the author is encouraged to submit the work for publication in the appropriate journals.






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