Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, by Anthony Grafton

By Anthony Grafton

whilst early Christians started to learn the Bible, and to write down their very own heritage and that of the Jews whom they claimed to supersede, they used scholarly equipment invented through the librarians and literary critics of Hellenistic Alexandria. yet Origen and Eusebius, students of past due Roman Caesarea, did way more. either produced new varieties of books, during which parallel columns made attainable severe comparisons formerly unenvisioned, no matter if among biblical texts or among nationwide histories. Eusebius went even farther, growing new examine instruments, new kinds of heritage and polemic, and a brand new type of library to help either study and ebook construction.

Christianity and the Transformation of the ebook combines broad-gauged synthesis and shut textual research to reconstruct the types of books and the methods of organizing scholarly inquiry and collaboration one of the Christians of Caesarea, at the coast of Roman Palestine. The e-book explores the dialectical dating among highbrow heritage and the heritage of the publication, at the same time it expands our figuring out of early Christian scholarship. Christianity and the Transformation of the booklet attends to the social, non secular, highbrow, and institutional contexts during which Origen and Eusebius labored, in addition to the main points in their scholarly practices--practices that, the authors argue, persisted to outline significant sectors of Christian studying for nearly millennia and are, in lots of methods, nonetheless with us this day.

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Additional resources for Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea

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21 1 Origen at Caesarea: A Christian Philosopher among His Books S i nc e antiquity, Origen’s reputation has been immense. 2 His own accomplishments, and his posthumous reputation, have set him apart from his contemporary cultural and social contexts. Despite his fame and his vast literary output, however, we have little information about the contents of Origen’s library or the concrete uses to which he put his books. Eusebius’s biography provides tantalizing, yet sparse, anecdotal evidence; Origen’s own works contain a variety of hints; other texts add precious tidbits to the picture.

But in the end, the sources cannot take us very far, making context crucial for any reconstruction. The Christian communities of the third century, and their shared culture and institutions, cannot provide it. Christians were simply too few, too scattered, too disorganized, and mostly too a c h r i s tian ph ilos oph er amon g his books poor to support a phalanx of academicians capable of developing their own independent scholarly culture. Rather, despite Origen’s eccentric Christian views, his best parallels in the intellectual world of the Roman Empire are the philosophers.

21 Although Snyder presents suggestive evidence for the schools’ dis- 28 a c h r i s tian ph ilos oph er amon g his books tinct styles of using and producing books, the material he surveys also makes clear that the philosophers of the Roman world shared a common culture of the book. Our focus will be on these points of intersection between disparate bodies of evidence, from literary texts of the third century ce to the paleographical details of papyri from the first century bce. As in Origen’s own case, the evidence is thin and scattered, and conclusions can only be tentative.

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