The Early Christian Book (CUA Studies in Early Christianity)

The Early Christian Book (CUA Studies in Early Christianity)

William E. Klingshirn
Linda Safran
Copyright Date: 2007
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4
Pages: 356
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  • Book Info
    The Early Christian Book (CUA Studies in Early Christianity)
    Book Description:

    Written by experts in the field, the essays in this volume examine the early Christian book from a wide range of disciplines: religion, art history, history, Near Eastern studies, and classics.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2064-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.2
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.3
    (pp. ix-x)
    W. E. K. and L. S.
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.4
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.5
  6. INTRODUCTION: From Binding to Burning
    (pp. 1-10)
    Philip Rousseau
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.6

    Books in a bookcase present a façade. Binding, typeface, and layout carry a message of their own, inspiring reverence or pleasing the eye, presenting themselves as examples of this category or that. Yet books are also penetrable. To take one down, to open it and read, is to enter another world, to journey elsewhere, to explore an unknown territory (the point is Catherine Chin’s). The second experience is modified, however, by the first. The physical book, with its edges, surfaces, and bindings, can circumscribe or define. We have to ask whether a book extends an invitation or puts up a...

    • 1. THE WORD MADE VISIBLE: The Exterior of the Early Christian Book as Visual Argument
      (pp. 13-47)
      John Lowden
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.7

      In a paper entitled “The Beginnings of Biblical Illustration,” first published in 1999, I attempted to survey all the surviving biblical manuscripts that contain images made up to about the mid-seventh century.¹ There proved to be only fourteen such books, some of them mere fragments. By focusing on broadly codicological topics, such as planning and layout, rather than questions of date and place of origin, I observed and sought to emphasize the extraordinary range and unpredictability of the material. For example, the two illuminated Genesis manuscripts (the Cotton Genesis and the Vienna Genesis), despite a basic similarity, are totally different...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.8
      (pp. 48-66)
      Chrysi Kotsifou
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.9

      P.Köln inv. 10213,¹ a letter on parchment of the fifth or sixth century, reads:

      Flesh side (fig. 16, following p. 26):

      пєщшт пєтсϩⲁї м̄пєϥсоⲛ ⲕоⲗоⲩⲑє мⲛ̅ пєϥсоⲛ тⲓмоⲑєос

      ⲛєϥсⲛнⲩ ϩм̄ пϫоєⲓс ϩⲁⲑн ⲛ̅-

      ϩшв ⲛⲓм ϯсⲓⲛє єⲣштⲛ̣̅ є-

      мⲁтє мⲛ̅ ⲛєтⲛ̅сⲛнⲩ мⲁⲕⲁ-

      ⲣє мⲛ̅ ⲛⲓⲗⲗє мⲛ̣̅ тєтⲛ̅ϩⲗ̅ⲗш

      мⲛ̅ пⲕє сєєпє єт‘ϩ’м̄‘п’нєⲓ :

      тєⲛоⲩ ⲇє пⲓϫшшмє ⲛ̅тⲁїтⲛо-

      оⲩϥ ⲛнтⲛ̅ ⲣшщє єⲣоϥ єⲕо-

      смⲓ м̄моϥ: споⲩⲇⲁⲍє єⲛєϥ-

      поϭє сотпоⲩ єⲛⲁⲛоⲩоⲩ м̄мⲁ-

      тє м̄пⲣ̅щоϫт̄ ⲛ̅‘ϩ’нтоⲩ ⲕⲁтⲁ ⲑє ⲛ̅-

      тⲁїϫоос ⲛ̅ϩⲩⲗⲓⲁс: тⲁⲁϥ̣ м̣̄п̣єтⲛⲁⲣ̅

      ⲫшв ⲕⲁⲗшс ⲛϥ̅ⲕос[м̑]ⲓ [м̄м]о̣ϥ ⲁⲩш єⲩщⲁⲛоⲩш

      єⲩтⲁмⲓо м̄моϥ єш[оϥ̅ м̄]пⲁтⲓєⲓ єϩнт

      мⲁ тⲛооⲩϥ єⲣнс ϯ[оⲩшщ г]ⲁⲣ єєⲓ

      єⲣєщⲁⲛпϫоєⲓс то[щт̄: ϯ]щⲓⲛє єїсⲓⲇшⲣє...

    • 3. TALMUD AND “FATHERS OF THE CHURCH”: Theologies and the Making of Books
      (pp. 69-85)
      Daniel Boyarin
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.10

      One of the most dramatic and salient differences between orthodox Christianity and rabbinic Judaism as they emerge from late antiquity is the very different kinds of books that they have made by then as their definitive statements. If, we might say, the definitive library of the church at the end of late antiquity is the collection known as the Fathers of the Church, surely the definitive library of rabbinic Judaism at that time is the Babylonian Talmud. These are not only very different books but very different sorts of books in ways that are crucial to understanding the differences between...

    • 4. THE SYRIAC BOOK OF WOMEN: Text and Metatext
      (pp. 86-98)
      Catherine Burris
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.11

      A sixth-century Syriac manuscript currently in the British Library preserves a collection of texts that includes the stories of four notable women of Jewish scripture—Ruth, Esther, Susanna, and Judith—and the story of Thecla, a disciple of Paul and almost a martyr.¹ Its title is Ktâbâ d-neššê, the Book of Women, and while various scholars have discussed the individual texts within this collection, no one has discussed the collection as a whole.²

      I suggest that the Book of Women is more than the sum of its parts, that it does considerably more than preserve early instances of certain texts....

    • 5. THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS DARKLY: Jerome Inside the Book
      (pp. 101-116)
      Catherine M. Chin
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.12

      As the other papers in this volume show, the early Christian book served, in its various forms, as a means of drawing boundaries and defining Christian identities.¹ By comparison with the heightened contrast that the book could produce at the borders between imagined communities, however, what existed on either side of these boundaries—heresy, paganism, Christianity, Judaism—may begin to seem a little vague. If, for example, books could mark heresies on the early Christian ideological map simply as “Here there be dragons,” how carefully, in turn, was the terrain within Christian territory explored? In this chapter I would like...

    • 6. CITY OF BOOKS: Augustine and the World as Text
      (pp. 117-138)
      Gillian Clark
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.13

      The earliest and most famous portrait of Augustine, a mid-sixth-century fresco in the Lateran, may have been painted for a Christian library.¹ He sits in what looks like a butterfly chair, a stylized version of the cathedra used by professors and bishops. His left hand holds a scroll, as in the traditional representation of the educated man, the mousikos aner. His right hand rests on an open codex, another sign of learning, that lies open on a bookstand turned to face the viewer, and he too looks out at the viewer.² Through the centuries, illustrations and portraits have shown Augustine...

    • 7. JUDGING BY THE BOOK: Christian Codices and Late Antique Legal Culture
      (pp. 141-158)
      Caroline Humfress
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.14

      By 533, the Christian God, according to the emperor Justinian, had authored a new Christian book, a book of law, known today as the Digest or Pandects. The divine authorship of this new Christian book is stated explicitly in Justinian’s imperial constitution Tanta. This constitution effectively promulgated the authority of the Digest text, the second of Justinian’s new authoritative law books that made up his tripartite “body of the civil law” (what we today term the Corpus Iuris Civilis). The opening sentence of the constitution reads, “So great is the providence of the Divine Humanity toward us that it ever...

    • 8. THE SYMBOLICS OF BOOK BURNING: The Establishment of a Christian Ritual of Persecution
      (pp. 159-174)
      Daniel Sarefield
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.15

      As we reflect on the varied uses of the early Christian book, it is appropriate to consider one unintended use that has important implications for the social milieu of these texts.¹ I refer to the ritual destruction of a book by fire—a book burning. To willfully destroy a text by placing it in a fire is to perform an ancient and persistent action that is in its essence a ritual of purification. Yet a book burning is more than a ceremonial act; it is a spectacle that transmits forceful social and religious messages to victims, witnesses, and participants alike....

    • 9. ENGENDERING PALIMPSESTS: Reading the Textual Tradition of the Acts of Paul and Thecla
      (pp. 177-193)
      Kim Haines-Eitzen
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.16

      In January 1892 twin sisters Agnes Lewis and Margaret Gibson, scholars of Semitic languages from Cambridge, made their first of many trips to St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai.¹ The primary aim of their visit was to study the manuscripts in the library and to photograph the Syriac codex of the Apology of Aristides discovered earlier by James Rendel Harris. But their most significant discovery on this trip came not from rummaging through the monastic library; rather, it occurred at the dining table. I quote here at length from the story, as told by Lewis and Gibson’s biographer, A. Whigham Price...

    • 10. HOLY TEXTS, HOLY MEN, AND HOLY SCRIBES: Aspects of Scriptural Holiness in Late Antiquity
      (pp. 194-222)
      Claudia Rapp
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.17

      Exposure to individual verses of scripture often triggered life-changing events.¹ A famous case is St. Anthony, who understood Matthew 19:21—“If you wish to be perfect, go sell everything you possess and give it to the poor and come, follow me and you will have a treasure in heaven”—when he heard it read in church as being directly addressed to him, “as if the passage were read on his account,” and under its impact relieved himself of all his possessions and worldly obligations.²

      It is significant that our first work of hagiographic biography begins in this manner, with an...

    • 11. SANCTUM, LECTOR, PERCENSE VOLUMEN: Snakes, Readers, and the Whole Text in Prudentius’s Hamartigenia
      (pp. 225-240)
      Catherine Conybeare
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.18

      This paper is concerned not with books as material objects, the set of tangibles that is the province of the codicologist, but with reading. It addresses the way in which the reader constructs the book—both in the sense, now commonplace, of “constructing” the meaning of the book; and in the more literal sense of constructing the contents of the book, designating of what parts it shall consist.¹ In this sense, books truly cannot exist without readers, for who is to determine their boundaries if not the readers themselves?² This is especially true in a literary culture that depends on...

      (pp. 241-274)
      Mark Vessey
      DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.19

      A sickly young monk is sent to convalesce in a city not far from his island monastery. His hosts hire a tutor to give him lessons in grammar and rhetoric. One night he falls asleep over his book. As he sleeps, he dreams that his arm is being devoured. The Latin is insinuating: videt … bracchium quo innixus fuerat codici DRACONE CONLIGANTE conrodi. “He sees the arm on which he was leaning against the book being gnawed by a serpent that was coiling itself about [him].”¹ Or by a serpent that was coiled about the book. Or (making best sense...

    (pp. 275-306)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.20
    (pp. 307-310)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.21
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 311-314)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt2853v4.22