This article deals with subjects presented on covers of textbooks and with images of the divine among them. The analysis highlights the role of the cover as a “pretext” that attracts the reader/viewer, causes his willingness or unwillingness to work with the book. It outlines the characteristic feature of a textbook as an object for “constant opening” with multiple use of its verbal and visual content. In connection with this, the article emphasises the signifi cance of a cover which triggers the process of forming the attitude to the textbook in the student’s mind. This can be an attitude to the teacher, interlocutor, preacher, or to a shop window, advertisement, poster, etc. The cover is seen as a “meta-message” with many meanings, e.g. addressee, means of decoding the content, implied “response” of the reader/viewer; as well as a way of multichannel communication. All elements of the cover act as a “director of the sight”, they educate, shape, and in a special way emphasise the attention of the student, teacher, parents and reviewer. For a systematic analysis of the cover, the article has identified components of its visual range, i.e. letters, words and texts; people, animals, things and their actions; colour, general emotional impression, as well combinations of these elements, their sizes and ranking (hierarchy). Based on an empirical analysis of a significant number of school textbooks (ABC-books, primers, manuals for study of religion and culture) of Russia, Germany, Great Britain and the USA (approx. 80 items), I have identifi ed ways to represent the divine principle on the covers. These are narratives from biblical history; Christ as a teacher, and his presence among people; religious symbols and objects of worship; nature as God’s cathedral; unity and mutual assistance of people (including in the family); existential situations and questions; religious holidays and architecture. The article also compares the implementation of these ways in pedagogical and religious traditions of various countries.
textbook, book cover, image, visualisation, religion, didactics, publishing house
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Bezrogov Vitaly Academic Degree:
Doctor of Sciences*
in Education; Academic Degree:
Candidate of Sciences*
in History; Place of work:
Institute for Strategy and Theory of Education of the Russian Academy of Education; 5/16 Makarenko Str., Moscow 105062, Russian Federation; Post:
Senior Research Fellow; ORCID: 0000-0001-6389-4783
*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.