Comments on: A high school commencement address Blog, news, books Thu, 02 Feb 2017 18:43:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Anonymous Wed, 04 Jun 2003 12:06:41 +0000 This book was block-printed, and other books might have been block-printed prior to this: it is reasonable to suppose that the block-printing technique didn’t spring up fully-developed with the printing of this book. It might have, but I think it more likely that the block-printing technique underwent a period of development first. Calling the Diamond Sutra “the first printed book” may therefore not be right. It would be more likely to be accurate to say that it is the earliest block-printed book that still survives to modern times.

Since the case of this Chinese book might invite comparisons and contrasts to the story of Saint Columcille, King Diarmait, and the copied psalm-book, I’ll repeat here what I stated at

The story about Saint Columcille is not documented until the early 16th century, and reflects the cultural assumptions of that age, not of the age in which the tale is set.

By: Lisa Spangenberg Wed, 04 Jun 2003 03:28:27 +0000 If you’re curious, you can see a picture of the Diamond Sutra. And yes, it is the first printed book; there are older texts, but they are not printed, nor are they books.

It occurs to me that in many ways our current copyright laws are taking as backwards, to the days of the medieval monastic “chain” libraries, when books were quite literally chained and bolted to the shelves to prevent them from being either easily copied or stolen. You can see one such library here at Hereford. Laws that our founding fathers intended to spread knowledge are in fact being used to deliberately prevent access, much like those medieval chains.

By: Geoff Matthews Tue, 03 Jun 2003 20:30:14 +0000 Is this the first “printed book?” I’m sure we have books that date older than this (I belive that the Vatican has religious texts that date to about 500 AD).

By: Joseph Pietro Riolo Tue, 03 Jun 2003 20:26:44 +0000 Not to be too picky but “universal free distribution” (very
similar to GPL) is not equivalent to the public domain.
Public domain allows one to produce a derivative work
based on a previous work. Free distribution is not the
same as and usually does not include the freedom to
produce a derivative work.

But then, we really cannot interpret the words “free
distribution” within our modern context.

For whatever it is worth. :)

Joseph Pietro Riolo

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
post in the public domain.

By: ed Tue, 03 Jun 2003 18:09:12 +0000 very fitting to come from China, where sharing culture and knowledge was highly valued.