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In Paul and First-Century Letter Writing, E. Randolph Richards does an admirable job of
contextualizing the letter-writing processes of Paul in the larger framework of ancient
epistolary practice. Recent years have seen a great deal of interest in the habits of the
secretary and scribe and the institutional practices of the scriptorium and library.
Monographs such as Henry Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of
Early Christian Texts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995); Kim Haines-Eitzen,
Guardians of Letters: Literacy, Power, and the Transmitters of Early Christian Literature
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Alan Millard, Reading and Writing in the
Time of Jesus (New York: New York University Press, 2000); and Stanley Stowers, Letter
Writing in Greco-Roman Antiquity (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986) have all sought to
trace different aspects of the life of ancient compositions and manuscripts from
production to consumption, taking every step along the way into consideration. Richards’s
work builds on such studies by incorporating the letters of Paul into this larger picture.