Monday, December 9, 2013

HIcks on Benedictine monks on Gutenberg's printing press

Philosopher Stephen Hicks has a characteristically intruiging post over at his blog where he discusses the interesting historical reaction of the Benedictine monks of the time to Gutenberg's invention of the moveable type printing press.  Here's a sample:
Gutenberg (1395–1468) had invented an efficient way to mass produce moveable type, leading to larger quantities and lower costs for printed materials. Before Gutenberg, the Benedictines made good money from hand-copying materials and were able to exert some control over what reading materials were produced. So they were unhappy with the Gutenberg press and lobbied the authorities to control it.
There's also a fascinating excerpt from an actual letter the monks wrote to the authorities asking them to repress the press, so to speak.