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Readers & Reading in the Roman Period

December 20, 2010

On the blog-site for the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins (, 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).

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