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Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts (Religion in the First by John Sawyer

By John Sawyer

Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts is the 1st complete examine of the function of languages and texts within the religions of the Greco-Roman international, together with Judaism and Christianity.It explores bilingualism, language studying, literacy, publication construction and translation, in addition to a number of the extra explicitly spiritual components, together with ideals approximately language, missionary zeal, ritual, conservatism and the facility of a priestly institution. Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts sheds new gentle at the position of the ability of phrases, spoken and written, in faith.

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This situation was given a final boost in the second century CE, when there was something of a Greek renaissance initiated by the Emperor Hadrian whose special fondness for Greek culture earned him the nickname Graeculus (‘the little Greek’). Successful state-supported efforts to collect and edit works of Greek literature were undertaken at this time. This was the heyday of the Greek sophists who led the intelligentsia in the direction of a more exclusive, elitist culture. It was in this period that the Greek upper classes began to affect an archaic Attic dialect which only they could speak, and which sharply separated them from the ordinary koine-speaking populace (Brown 1971:64).

He does maintain, however, that these are only superficial resemblances since divine intoxication (theia methe) is ‘more sober than sobriety itself’ (Philo, Leg. Alleg. 3, 83). Objections have been raised to such comparisons on the grounds that the biblical references are lacking in precise detail, and also in the light of the fact that modern glossolalic speakers often claim they do not in fact experience such physical and psychological symptoms. Modern cross-cultural studies of glossolalic speech among pentecostal groups in Wales, the United States, Mexico and elsewhere show that it is characterized by rapid rhythmic sounds often progressing to word-like or even sentence-like structures before dying away into silence.

In the first century BCE, Greek remained an important language of culture and power in Rome. The Roman general, Sulla, brought Aristotle’s library to Rome. Greek was still considered an essential element in every Roman boy’s education. Both Julius Caesar and Cicero studied in Greece. Latin was the official language of the Roman administration, however, and eventually superseded all other languages in Italy and the West, including Greek. Monumental inscriptions in the famous Roman lettering appear throughout the empire from the first century BCE on.

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