I haven’t blogged in a month, which is a long time. For me one of the many problems with Facebook is that little things that in the past would have ruminated in my mind for a while and be turned into a blog post, are instead vomited out on my Facebook timeline before they can mature. I have blogged less and less the longer I am on Facebook. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just something I have noticed. Of course, there is a easy solution to this, which is to quite Facebook. Yet right now the communication that Facebook enables out weights its disadvantages for my use. We’ll see what happens in the future. I’m starting to use Google+ more. Perhaps that will take over my Facebook time.
Anyhow, I am working on a new message series concerning Paul’s letter to the Galatians and as a part of my reading I have been reading about the nature of amanuenses in the Greco-Roman world. An amanuensis was something that we don’t really have a great modern example of. They were secretaries, editors, collaborators, and translators. The writing style of the day involved all but the most profoundly educated using an amanuensis. For example, Cicero thought one should write in your own hand except in the case of being sick or extremely busy. Then Cicero thought it was ok to use an amanuensis. Cicero was the exception to the rule because he would have been part of the intellectual 1% of his day. The majority of other writers used amanuenses. In fact, most, if not all, of the letters in the New Testament were written with the help of an amanuensis.
So as I was reading about amanuenses I ran across a 3rd century AD payment schedule for an amanuensis’ service. Yes, I was reading a 3rd century AD fee schedule. I lead an exciting life. The payment scheme reads as follows:
To a scribe for best writing, 100 lines, 25 denarii;
for second-quality writing, 100 lines, 20 denarii;
to a notary for writing a petition or legal document, 100 lines, 10 denarii.
Maybe it isn’t really that funny but the 1st quality versus second quality writing really made me laugh coffee out my nose. We in the 21st century act in the same manner, just on different things. I just found myself laughing at the thought of someone thinking, “Mhmm. I’m sending this letter to my mother-in-law. Second-quality writing will be just fine.”