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Forthcoming Book

March 31, 2016

I’ve just had word that my forthcoming book, Destroyer of the Gods:  Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Baylor University Press, Sept 2016) is available for pre-order here.

More on it later, but there’s a decent “blurb” on the publisher’s web site.

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  1. Larry, to your knowledge, do we have any written record of Christians themselves viewing the codex form as unique, preferable to other forms, or in some way significant?

    • Peter: The only thing that comes to mind initially is the curious reference to “membranas” in 2 Timothy 4:13, which some have suggested is an allusion to early Christian use/preference for the codex format. “Membrana” is a Latin word, in 2 Tim a loan-word taken over into the Greek, and it is suggested that it originated with the sort of parchment codices referred to by Martial (Epigrams), and then became a general term sometimes used for codices (in the way that Xerox originated as a brand name but then became a generic term for photocopying: e.g., “Will you Xerox that for me?”) See, e.g., Colin H. Roberts and T. C. Skeat, The Birth of the Codex (London: Oxford University Press, 1983), 15-23.

  2. Wow this looks exciting!

  3. The past two decades there has been an emphasis in scholarship on showing how ancient philosophical schools were bookish communities, that demanded from the beginning ethical conversions from their students, and were trans-ethnic. As a movement they match on rather perfectly to the Christian movement, although they were more restricted to a literate audience (but even this can be qualified). Snyder, Hadot, Pavie, Salles, Sellars, Malherbe and many others argue it. I know it is a blurb, but if it depicts your argument faithfully, you really (as you will be aware) will have a bold and census denying book that will be interesting to many.

    • Yes, I’ve tried to take on board work on philosophical schools in my book. I certainly don’t draw a “black and white” contrast, but do argue that there are differences of note. We’ll see how my analysis fares when the book gets reviewed. I anticipate that some will want to quibble!

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