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Chapter 3 reviews what we know about ancient literary and literate practices and what some scholars term “book culture.” Using testimony from Greek and Latin writers, this chapter provides a concrete description of how one was trained to read and write in the ancient Mediterranean world and how literacy was attained. The theorizations of Pierre Bourdieu on habitus and fields helps articulate how a Greco-Roman writer could possess and represent a number of different interests, social influences, and skill sets, and how we might more fruitfully describe this kind of knowledge in our scholarship. Philo of Alexandria serves as a case study for this new approach as a writer interested in a number of overlapping subjects, including religion, philosophy, politics, and texts.
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