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The Ethnography of Reading$
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Jonathan Boyarin

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079557

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079557.001.0001

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Placing Reading: Ancient Israel and Medieval Europe

Placing Reading: Ancient Israel and Medieval Europe

(p.10) Two Placing Reading: Ancient Israel and Medieval Europe
The Ethnography of Reading

Jonathan Boyarin

University of California Press

“Reading” in ancient Jewish culture signifies an act that is oral, social, and collective, and, in Europe, one which belongs to a private or semiprivate social space. By studying the structure of the semantic affinities and fields of the Hebrew words for “reading,” this chapter aims to show that they do not belong to the same lexical categorization of practices that reading does in modern European culture. It analyzes biblical narrative texts that describe scenes of reading; the descriptions of practice coincide with the semantics of the words involved.

Keywords:   modern European culture, reading, Hebrew, Jewish culture, social space

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