Christian Reading: Language, Ethics, and the Order of Things [Hardback]

Blossom Stefaniw (Author)

ISBN: 9780520300613 | Published by: University of California Press | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 255p,
Status: Not yet published - advance orders taken

Christian Reading: Language, Ethics, and the Order of Things


Uncovered in 1941 near Cairo, the Tura papyri brought to light numerous works attributed to Didymus the Blind, including commentaries and grammatical lessons on the Psalms and Ecclesiastes. Previously thought to reflect exercises in exegesis or instruction in virtue, the lessons include 300 authentic student questions, demonstrating that grammar in late antiquity was based not on Homer or Menander, but on the Old Testament. Blossom Stefaniew argues that these lessons constitute an unusual instance of non-confessional reading and study of the Bible, directed at conveying general knowledge of the linguistic, moral, physical and social orders to young people. Grammar was about knowledge of the general order of things, not only how to read and speak well, but how to behave properly and know what is appropriate. Didymus's work epitomizes this transformation of education and civic culture, raising a claim that language, comportment, and common sense were governed by a Christian order. By reanalyzing the paradigms of religion and pedagogy, Christian Reading intervenes in existing scholarship by focusing on the history of Christianity as part of the history of reading, study, and scholarship.

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