Late antiquity saw a revolution in literate culture the consequences of which, for more than a millennium, were no less dramatic than those of the invention of the movable type in early modernity. Both the transformation of the physical support of the books (from scroll to codex) and also, more importantly, the redaction of foundational texts of new religions, permitted the birth and growth of new, world religions, such as Christianity, Manichaeism, and then Islam. Within and without the borders of the Roman Empire, it was often in translation that those texts circulated, and that commentaries were elaborated, usually in writing but also orally. But the status of books underwent in the Roman world even more radical changes, which have to do with their central role in religion and religious education. Books, including sacred books, had of course existed in archaic and ancient societies, but they were now invested with a new status as they were taking the place previously held by sacrifice at the very core of ritual.--
Cambridge, Massachusetts :
Harvard University Press,
Includes bibliographical references and index.