The New Self and Reading Practices in Late Antique Christianity

in Church History and Religious Culture
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The article deals with the complex relationship between the religious revolution of late antiquity and cultural changes in the Roman world. It focuses on new attitudes to books, and analyses them in parallel with new conceptions of the self emerging in early Christianity. In particular, it seeks to understand the paradox of the early monks having been at once fierce opponents and carriers of Greco-Roman paideia.

The New Self and Reading Practices in Late Antique Christianity

in Church History and Religious Culture




See Chryssi Ktosifou‘Books and Book Production in the Monastic Communities of Byzantine Egypt,’ in The Early Christian Booked. William E. Klingshirn and Linda Safran (Washington D.C. 2007) pp. 48–66.


See Frances Young‘Christian Teaching,’ in Cambridge History of Early Christian Literatureed. Frances Young Lewis Ayres Andrew Louth (Cambridge 2004) pp. 464–484. One should further note that in Rabbinic Hebrew usage the ‘house of study’ (bet ha-midrash) is more prominent than the synagogue (bet ha-knesset).


See David Hunter‘Augustine on the Body,’ in A Companion to Augustineed. Mark Vessey (Malden Mass. 2012) pp. 353–364.


See Caroline Humphress‘Judging by the Book: Christian Codices and Late Antique Legal Culture,’ in The Early Christian Booked. Klingshirn and Safran (see above n. 6) pp. 141–158.


See G.G. Stroumsa‘On the Roots of Christian Intolerance,’ in Dans le laboratoire de l’historien des religionsed. F. Prescendi and Y. Volokhine [Religions en perspective 24] (Geneva 2011) pp. 193–210.


Guglielmo Cavallo‘Du volumen au codex: la lecture dans le monde romain,’ in Histoire de la lecture dans le monde occidentaled. Guglielmo Cavallo and Roger Chartier (Paris 1997).


See Ian H. Henderson‘Early Christianity, Textual Representation and Ritual Extension,’ in Texte als Medium und Reflexion von Religion im römischen Reiched. Dorothea Elm von der Osten Jörg Rüpke Katerina Waldner (Heidelberg 2006) pp. 81–100.


Keith Hopkins‘Conquest by Book,’ in Literacy in the Roman Worlded. Mary Beard et al. [Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 3] (Ann Arbor 1991) pp. 133–158.


Robin Lane Fox‘Literacy and Power in Early Christianity,’ in Literacy and Power in the Ancient Worlded. Allan K. Bowman and Greg Woolf (Cambridge 1994) pp. 126–147.


See Eduard Iricinschi‘Tam pretiosi codices uestri: Hebrew Scriptures versus Persian Books in Augustine’s Anti-Manichaean Writings,’ in Revelation Literature and Community in Late Antiquityed. Philippa Townsend and Moulie Vidas (Tübingen 2011) pp. 153–176.


See Anthony Hilhorst‘Biblical Scholarship in the Early Church,’ in The Impact of Scripture in Early Christianityed. J. den Boeft and M.L. van Poll-van de Lisdonk [Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 44] (Leiden 1999) pp. 1–19.


Stroumsa‘Augustine and the Book,’ in A Companion to Augustineed. Vessey (see above n. 14) pp. 151–157. On reading and readers in Augustine see Matilde Caltabiano ‘Lettura e lettori in Agostino’ Antiquité Tardive 18 (2010) 151–161.


See William A. Johnson‘Towards a Sociology of Reading in Classical Antiquity,’ The American Journal of Philology 121–124 (2000) 593–627.


See Claudia Rapp‘Holy Texts, Holy Men, and Holy Scribes: Aspects of Scriptural Holiness in Late Antiquity,’ in The Early Christian Booked. Klingshirn and Safran (see above n. 6) pp. 194–222 and Douglas Burton-Christie The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism (Oxford 1993) passim.


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