Ancient Greek Reading (was Punctuation in Codex Bezae)

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Mon Apr 20 1998 - 00:31:37 EDT

At 9:05 AM -0700 4/19/98, wrote:
>Micheal Palmer wrote:
>> All of their reading was probably done
>> aloud anyway, so reading aloud before a group "at a normal pace" would be
>> nothing out of the ordinary.
>You know, I had never thought about the possibility that "All their
>reading" might have been done aloud ~ Imagine our libraries if that
>were true with US!! Yet the pace is an issue ~ The simple mechanics
>of reading even English ms style writing, even after a LOT of
>practice, slows the pace necessarily, unless the text is already
>pretty much memorized, and is used as an accuracy check by the
>'reader' as he is delivering it from memory.
>> Of course, what constituted a "normal pace" is
>> debatable. Did they even try to approximate the speed of conversational
>> speech, or was it expected that speech guided by a written text would be
>> slower?
>. . . I really want to think that memorization of a text on
>the first reading of it was fairly common... And if true, would seem
>to have an important impact on our approach to understanding texts,
>although I really do not know what, exactly, that might be...

I have seen no evidence that would suggest that this was done. There is
plenty of evidence to suggest that even 'private' reading was done aloud,
but I have seen none that would suggest that memorization was a factor in
reading. It certainly had to be a factor in the transmission of ORAL
traditions, but what is there to suggest that it was a factor in reading
WRITTEN materials?

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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