Download Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and by William A. Johnson, Holt N. Parker PDF

By William A. Johnson, Holt N. Parker

Classicists were sluggish to use the $64000 advances within the means that literacy is considered in different disciplines (including particularly cognitive psychology, socio-linguistics, and socio-anthropology). nevertheless, historians of literacy proceed to depend on outmoded paintings by way of classicists (mostly from the 1960's and 1970's) and feature little entry to the present reexamination of the traditional proof. This well timed quantity makes an attempt to formulate new attention-grabbing methods of conversing concerning the whole proposal of literacy within the historical world—literacy now not within the feel of no matter if 10% or 30% of individuals within the old global may possibly learn or write, yet within the feel of text-oriented occasions embedded in a specific socio-cultural context.

The quantity is meant as a discussion board during which chosen top students reconsider from the floor up how scholars of classical antiquity may possibly most sensible procedure the query of literacy long ago, and the way that research may possibly materially intersect with alterations within the means that literacy is now seen in different disciplines.

The outcome will provide readers new methods of brooding about particular parts of "literacy" in antiquity, equivalent to the character of non-public libraries, or what it skill to be a bookseller in antiquity; new constructionist questions, corresponding to what constitutes examining groups and the way they model themselves; new takes at the public sphere, reminiscent of how literacy intersects with commercialism, or with using public areas, or with the development of civic id; new essentialist questions, similar to what "book" and "reading" symbolize in antiquity, why literate cultures boost, or why literate cultures topic. The booklet derives from a convention (a Semple Symposium held in Cincinnati in April 2006) and comprises new paintings from the main striking students of literacy in antiquity (e.g., Simon Goldhill, Joseph Farrell, Peter White, and Rosalind Thomas).

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See Calligas 1971, Wilson 1997–8. 27. , Gela, Q (p. 461): note the past tenses. 28. For the Pech-Maho tablet: Lejeune and Pouilloux 1988; revised text and slightly different interpretation of contents, Chadwick 1990. Cf. also Rodrı´guez Somolinos 1996. Writing, Reading, Public and Private ‘‘Literacies’’ 27 non-Greek. 29 But even in the Pech-Maho document it is not writing alone that gives the contract its security. There are three forms of guarantee mentioned, including witnesses: apparently every attempt is made to buttress and secure the transaction.

23 Moreover, it is clear that the letters belong to a world of traders, buyers, and sellers, on the edge of the Greek world, but unclear that this is a specifically commercial literacy. Most of these letters seem to be crisis letters, letters about circumstances and problems arising within a group engaged in various commercial activities, and there is much about seizure of goods or people. 25 A crisis letter is not uniquely commercial, clearly, and we should also note that the creation of a continuous prose letter with a degree of narration is more complicated than the banker’s list.

E. Harris 2004. 26 Situating Literacies the messenger: written messages, he says, are used only when it is necessary to conceal the message from the bearer, or else for a very long message. This is an attempt at special pleading, but it must have sounded plausible. In crisis and suspicious circumstances, the letter’s ability to cross distances and time, and transcend messengers, would be very handy. One letter contains peremptory instructions from a business man or maritime trader: the Emporion letter, found in Northeast Spain (see note 23 above), has an impatient tone of command surrounding the transactions and its contents.

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