Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts is the first comprehensive study of the role of languages and texts in the religions of the Greco-Roman world, including Judaism and Christianity.
It explores bilingualism, language learning, literacy, book production and translation, as well as some of the more explicitly religious factors, including beliefs about language, missionary zeal, ritual, conservatism and the power of a priestly establishment.
Sacred Languages and Sacred Texts sheds new light on the role of the power of words, spoken and written, in religion.
Professor John Sawyer, formerly Head of Religious Studies at Newcastle University, is now Senior Research Fellow in Hebrew and Biblical Interpretation at Lancaster University. He is the author of The Fifth Gospel. Isaiah in the History of Christianity (1996) and the Religion Editor of the ten-volume Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics (1994).
'This is a splendid book, offering new insights in a whole range of areas...John Sawyer has long been known both as a master of traditional methodology and as an extremely astute questioner of its assumptions, and here he puts his experitise to wider use in what remains a very sensitive area.' - Richard Coggins, Theology
'... a convincing interpretation of an interconnected group of subjects ... New light has been shed ... This wide-ranging study deserves a readership that is worthy of it's scholary author' - William Frend, Church Times
'This is a fascinating study of the interaction between language and religion in the Greco-Roman world ... an important contribution that will interest specialists in Near Eastern Studies, Linguistics, Classics, and Religious Studies.' - Bernadette McNary-Zak, Rhodes College, Reviews in Religion and Theology
'John Sawyer has ventured beyond the horizons of most biblical scholars to create an instructive and stimulating study.' - Alan Millard, Journal of Theological Studies
'Sawyer is ... at his best in dealing with features of style in the Old Testament ... a wide-ranging study.' - Studies in World Christianity