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Materials and Methods in Making Ancient Books

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Lesson

The vast majority of all copies of the New Testament were probably recorded on scrolls, but copied in codex format. This may lend to the theory that Christians used cutting-edge, easier-to-use media technologies to further the word-based faith.

Outline

Ι. ROLL (SCROLL), AND WHY THE NT BOOKS WERE ORIGINALLY ON SCROLLS

A. Hebrews: location of addressee and author information

1. Inside (recto)

2. Outside (verso) and often damaged

B. Revelation: fiber orientation

1. Writing on the horizontal fibers (typically inside)

2. Too difficult to write on the vertical fibers (typically outside)

3. Revelation written on front and back

C. Mark

1. Most think Mark was written on a codex and the last page lost

2. But the codex was not yet invented, and what is at the end of the scroll is the most protected

II. CODEX

A. Copies of the autographs

1. All but four written on codices

2. These four were written on reused scrolls

B. Mysteries of the mss

1. Why all written on codices?

2. Why abbreviate nomina sacra?

3. Why do NT mss abbreviate numbers?

C. Why did Christians use codices?

III. THE MAKING OF A CODEX

A. A quire is one or more double leaves (bifolio), folded in the middle, and sewn into the binding

B. The earliest codices were single-quire books

C. The standard quire size progressed to 8 leaves (4 bifolios). From about the 4th century on books used 4 bifolios per quire