Reading silently versus reading aloud in antiquity.

Discuss the world of the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, and Egyptians.
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Re: Reading silently versus reading aloud in antiquity.

Post by mbuckley3 »

Jerome, Letter 50, 393 AD (NPNF tr.)

Jerome has been informed that an uneducated monk has been traducing one of his works in hostile preaching.

"Here we have a man who has reached perfection without a teacher, so as to be a vehicle of the spirit and a self-taught genius" / Inventus est homo absque praeceptore perfectus, πνευματοφορος και θεοδιδακτος.

"He will find...that it is one thing to discuss the doctrines of the divine law amid the spindles and work-baskets of girls, and another to argue concerning them among men of education [inter eruditos viros]."

Per contra, Jerome sketches the immensity of the formal classical curriculum he himself had mastered, as well as his studies of elite Christian works. So when he refers to silent reading, it is not a matter of some supposed novel technique, but part of a very traditional, very conservative education.

"I appeal to books, to those memorials which must be handed down to posterity. Let us speak by our writings, that the silent reader may judge between us" / Ad libros provoco, ad memoriam in posteros transmittendam, loquamur scriptis, ut de nobis tacitus lector iudicet.
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