Peter Martens

Senior Core Fellow
Period of Stay: 
October 2022 – June 2023
Religious Studies
Saint Louis University, USA
Project Title: 
Habits of Attention: How Early Christians Encountered Their Scriptures
Project Abstract: 

Early Christians encountered their scriptures in many different ways. My book offers an innovative account about how these authoritative religious writings were read, heard, seen, and touched in the opening centuries of Christianity. I order a vast archive of textual and visual sources by the habits of attention that individuals and communities directed toward their sacred literature. These habits of attention were customary ways of relating to scripture, comprised of physical, social, affective, dispositional, and attitudinal components. My study examines eight of these habits: conserving and transposing, clarifying as well as solving, both regulating and amplifying, and finally, dramatizing and identifying. No one has approached the topic in this way. It opens a window onto the lives of early Christians, but also advances current debates across the humanities about how we are forming our students for more rewarding modes of life.