Book: Historical And Literary Studies Pagan Jewish And Christian by Adolph Von MenzelBruce M Metzger is one of the best and brightest stars in biblical scholarship. Why hasn't someone reissued all his books?
This one is especially valuable for the chapter titled "When Did Scribes Begin To Use Writing Desks?" No, I am not kidding. This is actually chock full of important information, especially for anyone interested in Christian studies.
Let me explain. Ever read any of the Jesus-was-a-myth books? One of the standard charges these writers make is that there are very few examples of anyone quoting from the gospels or Paul's letters until quite late. Why?
As it turns out, there are very, very few quotations of any kind, in any kind of writing, secular or Christian. And the reason is simple enough: the papyrus roll. First, it was simply difficult to find the text you wanted in a papyrus roll.
The second reason is the way a papyrus roll was read. And that brings me back to Metzger's very absorbing and detailed explanation of what we know about how readers and scribes used papyrus rolls. From every picture we have, as well as from descriptions, it appears rolls were not read at desks. Ever. Instead, a man would sit cross-legged on the ground, or else hold the rolls in one hand while he read.
No wonder exact quotes were rare until the codex came into use.
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Adolph Von Menzel - Historical And Literary Studies Pagan Jewish And Christian