In Stone and Story

Early Christianity in the Roman World

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Chapter 12: Literacy & Status

Class Activities

  1. Have your institution buy a few wax tablets and a few styluses (they are fairly easy to source). Have students write in the wax using a stylus — either a business contract or a list of household chores (both of which are described in this chapter), or perhaps a favorite short passage from the New Testament.
  2. Collect a list of modern instances in which people today intentionally recraft language (i.e., grammar, spelling, or syntax) for political, cultural or religious purposes. How do these modern examples compare to those discussed in chapter 12 of In Stone and Story?

Discussion Questions

  1. What advantage is there in using the term “literacies” rather than literacy?
  2. How did literacy interface with social status in the ancient world? How did literacy and gender interface in the ancient world?
  3. How has literacy changed in importance between the ancient world and today?