Much attention has been paid to words of the earliest Christian texts, yet Larry Hurtado points out that a even more telling story is being overlooked -- the story of the physical texts themselves.
Long known for his nimble 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. "The Earliest Christian Artifacts" draws upon studies by papyrologists and palaeographers as well as New Testament scholars and includes an appendix listing all copies of identifiably Christian texts in manuscripts dated to the second and third centuries CE.
Intended for intellectually engaged readers as well as New Testament scholars and students, "The Earliest Christian Artifacts "introduces the distinctive features of early Christian manuscripts, illustrating their relevance for wider inquiry into the complex origins of Christianity.