Monday, May 01, 2017

A religion of the book

One type of evidence, often overlooked, that certain texts were read out in Christian worship gatherings is comprised by the various features of some early Christian manuscripts, features that seem intended to facilitate reading them. These features, which are not typical of Roman-era copies of literary texts, include elementary punctuation, enlarged spaces to signal sense units such as sentences and paragraphs, slightly enlarged initial letters of each line, and other devices as well, such as generous-sized lettering and generous spacing between lines of text. There are found especially often in copies of biblical (Old Testament) texts and those texts that came to form part of the New Testament, and the object of these visual features was likely to assist people in the public reading of these manuscripts.— Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World, pages 108–9

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