I'm probably mentioning the obvious here, but it might be a good idea to check Harry Y. Gambe's *Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts* (New Haven: Yale U. Press, 1995) on this subject. Unless I'm mistaken, Gamble argues that the codex was not a Christian "invention," but that it was used more by Christians than others. Why? It seems that the collection of the Pauline letters and the subsequent need for an efficient way of binding this material in a usable format precipitated the widespread use of the codex form in early Christian circles. If Gamble is right, this would push the appearance of Christian codices back into the latter part of the first century.
Hope this is of some assistance,
From: Professor L.W. Hurtado[SMTP:hurtadol@...
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 1997 4:15 AM
Subject: tc-list Re: codex
To the best of my knowledge, refs. to the use of
codices in the lst-2nd cents (other than the indications of Christian
appropriation of the format) signal the following:
--Use of the codex for non-literary purposes/writings, such as
notebooks, study-copies of literary works, documentary texts, etc.
--Experimentation with the codex in a few cases for liteary works,
with a view toward making "pocket" editions. Martial's ref. for
example seems to refer to the particular advantage of a codex for
reading while en route.
Thus, the Christian innovation with the codex appears as follows:
--a MUCH more regularised/standardised appropriation/usage of the
codex. The % figures given by Roberts & others who have worked on
the question are undeniable.
--a particular FAVORING of the codex for what became their
"scriptures", both OT & NT writings. Christian copies of other
Christian writings survive, and a number of them are NOT in codex
form. The Christian favoring of the codex seems not easily accounted
for merely as an act of convenience (e.g., to make "pocket
editions"). It looks quite deliberate and purposeful. Problem is
trying to find clear indications of the purpose!
L. W. Hurtado
University of Edinburgh,
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2LX