Reading for understanding

“A student who doesn’t want his work to go for nothing ought to read and reread some good author until the author becomes part, as if were, of his flesh and blood.  Scattered reading confuses more than it teaches.  Many books, even good ones, have the same effect on the student.  So he is like a man who dwells everywhere and therefore dwells nowhere.  Just as in human society we don’t enjoy the fellowship of every friend every day, but only of a few chosen ones, so we ought to do in our studies.” Martin Luther, “Table Talk no. 2894a,” Luther’s Works, volume 54, p. 179.

Luther advises students to carefully read and examine a text until it becomes part of them mentally.  This advice follows the classical and monastic tradition of reading and meditating on significant texts.  How could this advice change the way we approach our studies?

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