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Late but Still Nice to Read: “Artifacts” Review

February 20, 2014

In the post today I received a copy of a review of my book, The Earliest Christian Artifacts:  Manuscripts and Christian Origins (Eerdmans, 2006), the (generous-sized) review published in Bibliotheca Orientalis 70 (2013): 3-4.  It is a bit of a surprise to have a review just appearing, given that my book was published in 2006.  But I have to say it’s very nice to have such a positive review (by Jürgen K. Zangenberg, Leiden University Institute for Religious Studies).

Zangenberg affirms my emphasis in the book that earliest Christian manuscripts offer valuable data beyond the texts that they contain for wider historical questions about early Christianity, agreeing that these manuscripts should be regarded “on equal level with archaeological finds and objects,” as direct evidence of the “visual and material culture” of early Christianity.  He accurately summarizes the contents and main lines of argument of the book, noting rightly that it draws on earlier scholars (e.g., Erich Dinkler, Eric Turner, C.H. Roberts, Kurt Treu, Harry Gamble, Robert Kraft, Eldon Epp, and numerous others, including more younger people such as Kim Haines-Eitzen) as well as my own investigations.

Given the effort that went into the book, it’s very encouraging to read that Zangerberg regards it “one of the most important recent books in the field of early Christian codicology,” and “simply a must for everybody interested in early Christianity and the New Testament!”  Even if the review came out seven years after the book was published, it’s still nice to have it.  (And this illustrates how long it can take for the scholarly world to take account of, and form a judgement of, a scholarly book.  As someone one said of God’s wheels of justice, the scholarly assessment of a work can grind slowly.)

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  1. JasonR permalink

    Larry, I’m interested in getting your book. There’s a Kindle version via Amazon. Have you seen this, and do you recommend it? I’m worried there may be diagrams or photos that don’t show up well. I’d also be interested to know a ballpark figure for how many copies your books have sold. Finally, are there any books on this topic by other authors that you especially recommend? I keep seeing the name Bruce Metzger…

    • I don’t know what the Kindle version looks/works like. Sorry. Sales figures for the book? I haven’t checked recently, but it’s doing OK. A few thousand. So far as I know, it’s the only one that addresses early Christian manuscripts as artefacts as broadly as I do.

  2. Hi prof Hutardo,
    I found your book “How on Earth did Jesus Become God?” last month translated in bahasa Indonesia. I’ve been searching historical review on origin Christianity, and i think your book is a good resource. Since not easy to get your original book, i hope more of your book translate in bahasa Indonesia.
    God bless you.

  3. Cornelis H. permalink

    It is Zangenberg, not Zangerberg. 😉

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