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Bookroll and Codex: Short Videos

April 16, 2017

In response to a query a day or so ago, I pointed to a couple of short instructional videos I prepared on the ancient bookroll and the codex as resources for our Centre for the History of the Book.  In one video I explain how bookrolls (scrolls) and the codex were prepared here.

In the other video I focus on the codex and the Christian preference for this bookform, explaining the particular steps necessary in preparing a codex for any extended literary text here.  It is often overlooked that the use of a codex required steps and skills additional to those otherwise required for using a bookroll.

I note that the early Christian materials reflect various experiments with methods of constructing a codex, which suggests that Christians in the 2nd and 3rd centuries were are the forefront of the use of this bookform.  It’s a remarkable phenomenon that early Christians preferred the codex, and especially for those texts that they treated as scripture.  At the same time, in the larger book culture the bookroll reigned supreme.  So, the early Christian preference for the codex is all the more striking.

For further discussion, see the chapter in my book, The Earliest Christian Artifacts:  Manuscripts and Christian Origins (Eerdmans, 2005), 43-93.

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One Comment
  1. Donald Jacobs permalink

    I like these videos.

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