"And Scripture Cannot Be Broken"

The Form and Function of the Early Christian Testimonia Collections


This work argues that many early Christian quotations of the Old Testament derive not from scriptural manuscripts, but rather from authoritative written testimonia collections developed to support basic Christian beliefs. Combining recent patristic studies (notably on Justin and Barnabas) and evidence from Qumran with detailed examination of quotations in the New Testament, the book builds a fresh case for a neglected scholarly hypothesis.
After reviewing the scholarly literature and analogous Jewish and Greco-Roman literary collections, the book presents a comprehensive overview of extant testimonia traditions from the second to the fourth century C.E. The final chapters argue for the use of written testimonia collections in the New Testament.
This study offers solid evidence for a remarkably unified early Christian scriptural tradition that extended throughout the Mediterranean world.
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EUR €194.00USD $243.00

Biographical Note

Martin C. Albl, Ph.D. (1997) in Religious Studies, Marquette University, is Professor of Religious Studies and English at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Review Quotes

' Albl’s book is a remarkable instrument of research. It provides abundant material for further studies in several directions, from the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, to the sources of the New Testament, of the Fathers, and much more.'
Alessandro Falcetta, Annali di Storia dell’ Esegesi, 2002.
' ...a thorough piece of work, carefully researched, and a real contribution to the study of early Christian and Jewish use of prior textual authority...'
Carol Stockhausen, Marquette University.
' The author has provided a thorough, reasoned, balanced and altogether convincing discussion of the conundrum presented by the 'testimony hypothesis', making a significant contribution to the problem of the ways in which early Christians used the Old Testament.'
David E. Aune, Loyola University, Chicago.
' ...This well-argued and documented monograph [...] will have to be consulted for any serious future work in this area.'
William S. Kurz, S.J., Marquette University.
' A significant study, particularly considering its very wide coverage of primary sources and secondary literature.'
Michael W. Holmes, Religious Studies Review, 2000.
' This book gives new and detailed substance to discussions of the relation between scripture and tradition, the authority of scripture, and, of course, the formation of the NT.'
Justin Taylor, Revue Biblique, 2001.
…a helpful resource…
Christopher Stanley, Journal of Theological Studies, 2001.


Scholars of the New Testament and early Christian history, especially those interested in the interpretation of scripture and early Jewish-Christian relations.


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