Early Christian Manuscripts

Examples of Applied Method and Approach


For the reconstruction of early Christianity, the lives of early Christians, their world of ideas, their ways of living, and their literature. Early Christian manuscripts - documents and literary texts - are pivotal archaeological artefacts. However, the manuscripts often came to us in fragmentary conditions, incomplete or with gaps and missing lines. Others appear to form a corpus, belong to an archive, or are connected with each other as far as theme or purpose are concerned. The present collection comprises of nine essays about individual or a set of certain manuscripts. With their essays the authors aim to present special approaches to early Christian manuscripts and, consequently, demonstrate methodically how to deal with them. The scope of topics ranges from the reconstruction of fragmentary manuscripts to the significance of amulets and from the discussion of individual fragments to the handling of the known manuscripts of a specific Christian text or a whole archive of papyri.

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Thomas J. Kraus, Ph.D. (2000) in New Testament Study, University of Regensburg, is a private scholar, teaching at a German grammar school and involved in several research projects. He has published, in addition to several studies in research journals, Ad Fontes: Original Manuscripts and Their Significance for Stuying Early Christianity: Selected Essays (Brill, 2007) and Gospel Fragments together with Michael J. Kruger and Tobias Nicklas (OECGT, Oxford, 2009).

Tobias Nicklas, Ph.D. (2000), Habilitation (2004), is Chair of New Testament at the Faculty of
Theology, University of Regensburg, Germany. He has published widely on New
Testament and Christian apocryphal texts, New Testament hermeneutics and
textual history.
"The impressive new TENTS series continues here with a further volume of essays edited by Thomas Kraus and Tobias Nicklas. [...] These essays show the importance of detailed attention to individual manuscripts and what these might show, not only in relation to the individual manuscript concerned, but also in relation to broader, more general issues. [...] So too the methodological issues involved in discussing individual manuscripts, seeking to fill lacunae, and postulating historical contexts in which the MSS might have originated, are well highlighted here. This is a valuable collection of essays; it contains too some important material relevant data which will serve as very useful resources for many future studies in this fascinating general area." – Christopher Tuckett, in: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism [Full review]
"This book contains some excellent studies, examinations of papyri and manuscripts, and critical studies and challenges that have vexed scholars of ancient and early Christian texts for many years. Researchers and scholars who work in these areas will find this book to be invaluable. De Bruyn’s contribution, in particular, may help amulet studies move forward in new and exciting ways. This volume will surely generate an enormous amount of continuing scholarship on this topic and is a wonderful addition to this series." – Bradford Lee Eden, in: Journal of Religious & Theological Information 11/3-4
"Thomas Kraus and Tobias Nicklas should be congratulated for seeing this volume through to completion. Its value lies in the research resources, new editions, and reevaluations of familiar manuscripts it contains." – Geoffrey Smith, University of Texas at Austin, in: Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 49 (2012)
All those interested in the world of ancient manuscripts in general and early Christian manuscripts and their study in particular, as well as classical philologists and scholars of early Christian history.