Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Letters and CommunitiesStudies in the Socio-Political Dimensions of Ancient Epistolography$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Paola Ceccarelli, Lutz Doering, Thorsten Fögen, and Ingo Gildenhard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804208.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 March 2021



(p.1) Introduction
Letters and Communities

Paola Ceccarelli

Lutz Doering

Thorsten Fögen

Ingo Gildenhard

Oxford University Press

The Introduction surveys scholarly work on letter-writing in the ancient world. While generally of a high standard and often interdisciplinary in nature, bridging such fields as Near Eastern and Jewish Studies, Biblical Studies, Patristics, and Classics, research on ancient epistolography often marginalizes the role of letters in constituting and sustaining communities of various stripes (political, social, ethnic, religious, philosophical). The introduction explores various reasons for this oversight (the overriding importance given to face-to-face communication in public settings, the apparently ‘private’ nature of corresponding via letters, its low rank in the hierarchy of genres, and the marginal status this aspect of letter-writing has in ancient epistolary theory) before outlining why letters played such a vital role in ancient community-building, with an emphasis on long-distance communication, permanence, and the genre’s ideological flexibility and strong pro-social outlook. The second half offers a narrative of the volume, with summaries of its thirteen case studies.

Keywords:   ancient letters, epistolography, communal aspects, communities, history of research

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .