By Harry Y. Gamble
This interesting and full of life booklet offers the 1st complete dialogue of the construction, move, and use of books in early Christianity. It explores the level of literacy in early Christian groups; the relation within the early church among oral culture and written fabrics; the actual type of early Christian books; how books have been produced, transcribed, released, duplicated, and disseminated; how Christian libraries have been shaped; who learn the books, in what conditions, and to what purposes.
"In this super well-written and carefully researched paintings, Gamble asks to what quantity the early church used books, how have been they produced, and for what audiences? ... An significantly instructive and provocative paintings on an unique subject. i like to recommend it hugely to an individual with an curiosity in Christian historical past and a style for future-oriented speculation". -- Commonweal
"His research benefits cautious analyzing and carrying on with use as a result of its necessary collections, insightful reviews, and thoroughness. In essence he has supplied a 'companion to early Christian literature' which might be required reading". -- Robert M. furnish, Catholic historic evaluation
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Additional resources for Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts
Such texts were neither nu~e~o~s nor self-evident: many that were traditionally regarded as messiamc m Judaism were not useful for Christianity, and many that were messianically construed by the primitive church had carried no such sense in Judaism. Thus the early Christian appeal to Jewish scripture ~as not a simple matter of discovering texts, but a textual enterpnse requiring close reading and constructive interpretation and thus literary sophistication. . In the meantime, the testimonia hypothesis has receiVed new hfe from the discovery of several documents containing just such collections of testimonia as had been conjectured.
Oracles": And I shall not hesitate to append to the interpretations all that I ever learned well from the ancients [presbuteron] and remember welL for I am confident of their truth. For I did not rejoice like the many in those who say much, but in those who teach the truth, nor in those who recall the commandments of others, but in those who recall those things given to the faith by the Lord and derived from the truth itself. But if anyone ever came who had followed the ancients, I inquired about the words [logous] of the ancients-what Andrew or Peter or Philip or Thomas or fames or fohn or Matthew or any other of the Lord's disciples said, and what Ariston and the presbyter fohn, the Lord's disciples, were saying.
These three are probably earlier than several of the later writings contained in the New Testament, and indeed later on, when the New Testament canon was taking shape, they were occasionally reckoned to belong to it. In addition, some of the documents among the so-called New Testament apocrypha may come from the first century, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, and the so-called Unknown Gospel being the likeliest candidates. 69 But no documents outside the New Testament have a strong claim to be earlier than the earliest documents in the New Testament.