Of course I was only responding to the question asked. And the 'notebook
hypothesis' does raise the question of codex-like aide memoires and copies from
earlier than we've usually allowed. But it is also true that papyri form the main
bulk of our early mss tradition. The trouble is in all this that the objective
data is all far too late on (when we know that oral tradition had long been
committed to writing, for whatever reason) to give us much guide to the factors
which caused the oral tradition to be put into writing. But this too is a
question I would like to return to in due course. So thanks again for putting it
"Robert M. Schacht" wrote:
> christine wrote:
> > >... My questions:
> > >
> > >...
> > > 3)The codex. All I've read about this (Skeat, Robins, Turner, Gamble,
> > > McCormick, etc etc) agree, as is well-known, that the Christians
> > adopted the
> > > codex with startling alacrity. There's less agreement about why--I believe
> > > it must have been a combination of factors--ease of transport, ease of
> > > reference, new book technology in Rome (Martial), perhaps a Pauline
> > tradition
> > > ("membranae" in 2Tim)--all of the above. It's thought by some that the
> > codex
> > > evolved, not so much from wax tablets bound together as from codex
> > notebooks
> > > used by artisans and doctors for notes, reminders, accounts, recipes, etc.
> > > Such notebooks would never have been considered appropriate for
> > > "literature." Yet Christians were soon using similar handbooks for their
> > > writings.
> > > So: Is there a parallel?
> > > *the codex*, a bridge between the humble ephemeral wax tablet (or
> > > Vindolanda-style wood sheet) and the literary scroll, by way of the
> > artisan's
> > > notebook;
> > > *the gospels*, a bridge between oral storytelling/performance and high
> > > literature, by way of the Christian communities?
> > >
> > > And did the Christians also take to the codex because it was a less formal
> > > vehicle? Closer to the world of orality--builders, businessmen,
> > doctors, and
> > > their assistants giving each other notes, instructions, information, to be
> > > jotted down in a notebook? A more natural place to record the living oral
> > > traditions about Jesus?
> May I interject? Your comments make no mention of papyrus. Crossan's Birth
> of Christianity has a chapter (Chap. 9) on the earliest Christian
> manuscripts that you might find very interesting (at least, I did.) It
> inspired me to do a little additional checking. At any rate, all of the
> earliest NT manuscripts are written on papyrus, which is a much cheaper
> material than parchment. Already the earliest letters of Paul were in codex
> form. Furthermore, and I hope Professor Dunn might comment on this, the
> early Christian papyri have some very interesting features noted by
> Crossan, although of course not original with him, such as the use of
> nomina sacra. Isn't this already a sign of written tradition? So it seems
> that the earliest written manuscripts do not bring us much closer to an
> oral process of transmission?
> Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
> Northern Arizona University
> Flagstaff, AZ
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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