Readers & Reading in the Roman Period
On the blog-site for the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins (www.cscoedinburgh.wordpress.com), I’ve posted a piece on a new and interesting book: William A. Johnson, Readers and Reading Culture in the High Roman Empire: A Study of Elite Communities (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). The book has nothing directly on earliest Christianity, but there are a number of observations that help us capture something of the wider social setting of that time. Interested readers are referred to that posting.
I reiterate also my appreciation for an earlier book more directly focused on early Christianity: Harry Y. Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), which uniquely discusses evidence of how earliest Christianity was a particularly textual-oriented religious movement. Anyone interested in Christian origins will find Gamble’s book fascinating (and it ought to be required for any PhD student in the field).