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Anthony Grafton
Megan Williams
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Harvard University Press
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Christianity and the Transformation of the Book combines broad-gauged synthesis and close textual analysis to reconstruct the kinds of books and the ways of organizing scholarly inquiry and collaboration among the Christians of Caesarea, on the coast of Roman Palestine. The book explores the dialectical relationship between intellectual history and the history of the book, even as it expands our understanding of early Christian scholarship.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-03786-1
    Subjects: History, Religion, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. Cast of Characters
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  6. Introduction: Scholars, Books, and Libraries in the Christian Tradition
    (pp. 1-21)

    The Benedictine abbot, scholar, and literary forger Johannes Trithemius (1462–1516) compiled innovative histories of the church, of Germany, and of his own and other monastic orders.¹ He produced these works using manuscripts he had already assembled, in the vast and specialized libraries that he created in monasteries at Sponheim and Würzburg. Trithemius was a firm believer in the value of the ancient Benedictine discipline of copying sacred and secular books. The library therefore served, in part, as a resource for monastic discipline: when he could not beg or buy the originals, Trithemius made his novices transcribe the treasures that...

  7. 1 Origen at Caesarea: A Christian Philosopher among His Books
    (pp. 22-85)

    Since antiquity, Origen’s reputation has been immense. Eusebius applied to him the sobriquet Adamantius, or “man of steel,” and portrayed Origen as a kind of superhero of Christian piety and scholarship.¹ The tendency ever since has been for Origen’s biographers to represent him as sui generis.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...

  8. 2 Origen’s Hexapla: Scholarship, Culture, and Power
    (pp. 86-132)

    Origen, like his contemporaries the philosophers, applied the full range of grammatical and philological tools—developed since the Hellenistic period for the study of Greek literature—to interpret the central texts of his school. In his case, however, those texts presented unique problems. The Old Testament formed a vital part of the Christian canon. It had, however, originally been composed in Hebrew.¹ Christians and Hellenized Jews read it in any of a number of Greek versions that often differed both from the original and from one another. No classical text existed in so wide a variety of forms. The Hexapla...

  9. 3 Eusebius’s Chronicle: History Made Visible
    (pp. 133-177)

    Eusebius of Caesarea was Origen’s best-known and most self-conscious successor. He has often been imagined as the direct inheritor of Origen’s scholarly tradition, indeed as a kind of epigone. In fact, Eusebius went beyond his idolized predecessor on the conceptual level, by applying his formal innovations in book design and production to a range of problems of which Origen probably could not even have conceived. He also built an infrastructure for the production of learning, and of learned books, that far surpassed anything Origen could ever have imagined. This infrastructure was supported by forms of patronage that had never before...

  10. 4 Eusebius at Caesarea: A Christian Impresario of the Codex
    (pp. 178-232)

    It was in Caesarea that Eusebius learned to be a scholar; in Caesarea, too, that he created new literary forms and institutions. In this chapter we follow the complex interplay between the man and his environment. Our concern will be to tease out the ways in which each shaped, and was shaped by, the other. As we will see, Eusebius built a unique institution, and worked out genuinely new ways to organize scribal labor. But the methods that he forged for correcting the text of the Bible and for wielding documents to create new forms of historical and polemical text...

  11. Coda: Caesarea in History and Tradition
    (pp. 233-244)

    Origen, Pamphilus, and Eusebius, we have argued, forged their innovations in producing and designing works of Christian learning in different historical contexts, which partly explain both the limitations and the successes of their careers. Origen operated within a traditional model of personal patronage. His close relationship with Ambrose mirrored those that had supported the efforts of bookish philosophers at least since the beginning of the period of Roman domination of the Mediterranean world. Eusebius began his career in a similar context, under the spiritual and scholarly tutelage of Pamphilus. But he then took advantage of changes in the internal structure...

  12. Abbreviations
    (pp. 246-246)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-290)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 291-353)
  15. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 354-356)
  16. Index
    (pp. 357-367)