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Rewriting And Textual Fluidity In Antiquity: Exploring The Socio-Cultural And Psychological Context Of Earliest Christian Literacy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines aspects of rewriting and textual fluidity in Antiquity, with the purpose of understanding the socio-cultural and psychological context of earliest Christian literacy. It is important to note that the boundaries between these categories are not always clear-cut in actual practice, and were even less so in Antiquity. Fluidity refers to the transformation of texts in the process of rewriting. Whereas the term 'rewriting' suggests a connection with the scribal medium, the chapter argues that the oral / aural medium played a significant role in all aspects of ancient literacy. First, it reviews socio-cultural aspects of ancient literacy in an attempt to understand the origins of the phenomena of rewriting and textual fluidity. Second, the chapter offers some insights from memory studies to explain how rewriting and textual fluidity shape texts. Finally, it concludes with some remarks about the particular factors that influenced textual fluidity in early Christianity.

Keywords: earliest Christian literacy; memory study; rewriting in Antiquity; scribal medium; textual fluidity



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