God's Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts

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Yale University Press, Aug 21, 2018 - Religion - 416 pages
A provocative book from a highly original scholar, challenging much of what we know about early Christian manuscripts
In this bold and groundbreaking book, Brent Nongbri provides an up-to-date introduction to the major collections of early Christian manuscripts and demonstrates that much of what we thought we knew about these books and fragments is mistaken. While biblical scholars have expended much effort in their study of the texts contained within our earliest Christian manuscripts, there has been a surprising lack of interest in thinking about these books as material objects with individual, unique histories. We have too often ignored the ways that the antiquities market obscures our knowledge of the origins of these manuscripts.
Through painstaking archival research and detailed studies of our most important collections of early Christian manuscripts, Nongbri vividly shows how the earliest Christian books are more than just carriers of texts or samples of handwriting. They are three-dimensional archaeological artifacts with fascinating stories to tell, if we’re willing to listen.
 

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God's Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts

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Nongbri (Before Religion) challenges beliefs about ancient Christian papyri in this readable account of the gaps and suppositions regarding them within modern scholarship. He challenges the fixation ... Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE Reintroducing the Earliest Christian Manuscripts
1
1 The Early Christian Book
21
2 The Dating Game
47
3 Finding Early Christian Books in Egypt
83
The Beatty Biblical Papyri
116
The Bodmer Papyri
157
6 Excavating Christian Litter and Literature at Oxyrhynchus
216
7 Fabricating a SecondCentury Codex of the Four Gospels
247
EPILOGUE The Future of Ancient Christian Books
269
Christian Books from Oxyrhynchus
273
Notes
281
Bibliography
353
Index of Subjects
385
Index of Manuscripts
395
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About the author (2018)

Brent Nongbri is an Honorary Research Fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and the author of Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept and numerous articles on the paleography and codicology of early Christian manuscripts.

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