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The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins

by Larry W. Hurtado

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152None143,734 (4.18)None
Much attention has been paid to the words of the earliest Christian canonical and extracanonical texts, yet Larry Hurtado points out that an even more telling story is being overlooked -- the story of the physical texts themselves. Widely recognized for his outstanding scholarship, Hurtado combines his comprehensive knowledge of Christian origins with an archivist's eye to make sense of these earliest objects of the faith. He introduces readers to the staurogram, possibly the first representation of the cross, the nomina sacra, a textual abbreviation system, and the puzzling Christian preference for book-like texts over scrolls. Drawing on studies by papyrologists and palaeographers as well as New Testament scholars -- and including photographic plates of selected manuscripts -- The Earliest Christian Artifacts astutely introduces the distinctive physical features of early Christian manuscripts, illustrating their relevance for wider inquiry into the complex origins of Christianity.… (more)
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Overall, this volume by Hurtado is a refreshing and welcome addition to the scholarly discussions on Christian origins. It opens up a whole new world of research to biblical scholars, demonstrating that the physical manuscripts themselves offer valuable and compelling clues to how Christianity developed within the ancient world.
added by Christa_Josh | editWestminster Theological Journal, Michael J. Kruger (Mar 1, 2008)
 
All in all, this is both an informative and delightful read; and while Hurtado's first purpose is to inform the reader of the rich treasure of historical data available to us in these early Christian copies of Scripture-and this is done in readable fashion at a very high level of expertise-at the same time he regularly engages in scholarly discussion, sometimes debate, with various historical explanations of these several data. The end result is both informative and stimulating, and at the end of the day also edifying.
added by Christa_Josh | editJournal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Gordon D. Fee (Dec 1, 2007)
 
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Much attention has been paid to the words of the earliest Christian canonical and extracanonical texts, yet Larry Hurtado points out that an even more telling story is being overlooked -- the story of the physical texts themselves. Widely recognized for his outstanding scholarship, Hurtado combines his comprehensive knowledge of Christian origins with an archivist's eye to make sense of these earliest objects of the faith. He introduces readers to the staurogram, possibly the first representation of the cross, the nomina sacra, a textual abbreviation system, and the puzzling Christian preference for book-like texts over scrolls. Drawing on studies by papyrologists and palaeographers as well as New Testament scholars -- and including photographic plates of selected manuscripts -- The Earliest Christian Artifacts astutely introduces the distinctive physical features of early Christian manuscripts, illustrating their relevance for wider inquiry into the complex origins of Christianity.

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