Writing and reading

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

The books that go to make up the bible were written for reading aloud. This is generally true of books in the ancient world. There’s a story from St Augustine that underlines this point. He was a North African bishop in the late fourth and early fifth century, who was also one of the cleverest and well-educated men of his day. In his Confessions he thinks it worthy of comment that, Ambrose, bishop of Milan, always read silently. Reading aloud was the norm, even for the highly educated who read on their own.1

For most people, in a society where the majority could not read, the only way they encountered books at all, was through other people reading to them or for them. There are places where, in different ways, that practice shows through in the pages of the bible.

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