Early Christianity: A “Bookish” Religion

Larry Hurtado's Blog

I’ve been asked to give main points from my Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture given earlier this week in the University of Calgary.  My lecture gives the gist of one of the chapters in my forthcoming book on distinctives of early Christianity, one of those distinctives being the prominent place of texts in early Christianity, making it a “bookish” religion.

  • From a very early point the reading of texts was a typical part of corporate worship gatherings.  This was unusual in the Roman-era setting for a religious group.  Indeed, the only analogy was the use of texts in synagogue gatherings.
  • In the production of new texts, likewise, early Christianity was remarkable and unusual.  By my count, there were at least some 200+ texts that we know of composed by ca. 250 AD.
  • The efforts at copying and dissemination of texts comprise a further distinguishing feature.  This trans-local dissemination of texts reflected…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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