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Hurtado

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The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins” by Larry W.
Hurtado
First Name and Last Name
Class
Date
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Introduction
The book The Earliest Christian Artifacts Manuscripts and Christian Origins" by Larry
W. Hurtado is one of the pieces of Christian literature of the 21
st
Century that gives the account
of how religion began. The evidence in this document is based on the events of the second and
third centuries. One of the factors that have been paid special attention is the inscription found on
the codex. Secondly, the various links that exist between Judaism and Christianity have been
discussed.
Review
The book targets the readers studying the second covenant of the Bible. The New
Testament has been portrayed by Mr. Hurtado as an independent historical object. The writer's
observations, in general, may be viewed as mere allegations that have no significant impact on
the belief of the concerned individuals. However, for the learners that have been taught to respect
the texts as the witnesses, it sounds like a revolution in itself. In the introduction, the author
states that the manuscripts explain particular historical relics
1
. Apart from being the witnesses to
the Christian writings, they have essential physical and visual elements. Each document has a
story to tell about the individual who wrote it. Upon collection of the entire book, it becomes
clear that there are some sections that have never been revealed to the first congregation. Thus,
through Hurtado’s work, it becomes possible to discover the hidden parts of the early Christian
life.
In the first chapter, the author informs his readers about the literature found in the 2
nd
and
3
rd
centuries. Among the manuscripts of that era are the Old Covenant and the Second
Testament. Also, the apocryphal texts form part of the artifacts analyzed by Hurtado. Even
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Hurtado Larry W.The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins ( Grand Rapids: Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing, 2006), 29
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though most realities of that period are outdated, in Christianity, the era remains strong because
it provides the most accurate foundation and developmental concepts of religion. Besides,
several manuscripts were recorded in that timeline and have been a reasonable basis for the
continued strengthening of the Christian life.
Considering the given sections of the artifacts, the Old Testament arises as a source of
significant interest. From that aspect, some questions may arise about the association of the
Jewish and Christians in regard to their belief in God. Accordingly, the way of tearing apart the
closely related religions has been supported by some arguments. Hurtado has raised different
debates with his interlocutors, stating the differences that occur in the development of
Christianity and the Jewish religion. In his explanation, the author states that the few books that
show no evidence of belonging to the Christian or Jewish literature should not be used so as not
to create confusion among the people and should be considered irrelevant as far as religious
doctrines are concerned. Particularly, the author insists that the evidence displayed based on the
other pieces of literature is can properly provide solid differences between the two religions
without the need to evaluate those documents that contain no evidence and are only meant to
create bewilderment among believers.
The second chapter of the book addresses The Early Christian Preference for the Codex
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.
The writer used another recording titled Leuven Database of Ancient Books. From the charts that
were provided in the books, it was affirmed that the Christian religion owned a good preference
to represent the codex. The rationale for this supposition is that despite the existing evidence,
there are several types of literary works that are still being written to create controversy within
religion. Throughout the major part of chapter two, the author explains the possible beginning
and factors that might have led to the initiation of the preference.
2
Ibid., 37
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Trying to find the developmental structure of the codex, Hurtado takes a closer look at
the preference in the third chapter. As it has been referred to as the nomina sacra, the codex is
believed to have had its origin in the Jewish practices. That argument has been opposed by the
writer. Hurtado justifies his position by arguing that the setting of the codex had the features of
the Greek traditions, but the data has no ability to allow the Jewish community to have had the
origin of the Christian use of the nomina sacra. Among the evidence found concerning the Greek
influence, there is no use of initials such as NS that have been depicted on the codex before the
establishment of the Christian teachings. By carefully assessing the inscription pictured on the
parchment, the writer holds the position that the creators of the text talk about Jesus.
Furthermore, Hurtado addresses the idea of ‘life’ and ties it to the scroll, illustrating Jesus as the
founder of religion and the unsurpassed subject of early Christianity.
The importance of the codex also forms part of the content presented by Hurtado. He
argues that the nomina sacra provides the indication of the binitarian form of the first Christian
devotion. Given the importance of the scrolls, one has to understand the textual and visual
presentations in a more precise manner. In discussion with C. Tuckett’s thesis, it comes clear that
the codex was for individuals who were unable to read any formal writing of the early times.
From reading the scrolls, the individual would fluently read and comprehend it. However,
Hurtado adds that the Christian scribes played a more important role than just acquainting the
individual with the lea
3
. Basing on this fact, Hurtado dismisses the argument raised by Tuckett as
being too ambiguous.
In the fourth chapter, Hurtado discusses the cross that was used to crucify Jesus in the
Greek systematic presentation. Through the keen study of the late superimposition, X-P gives the
sense of the ‘christograms', while the ‘staurograms’ was indicated by T-P. Tying the findings
3
rn Ibid., 40
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back to the main topic of the book, Hurtado argues that the texts should be understood beyond
their contextual meaning. He concludes by stating that the presentation was the earliest
establishment of Jesus’ crucifixion.
In the final chapter, Hurtado provides insight into the additional scribal aspects of the
first Christian manuscripts. Ranging from the size and numbers of columns on margins, some
structural aspects were observed by Hurtado. Such features provide careful readers with
information concerning the individual or community that took part in the preparation of the
writing. The scroll also incorporates such clues as marks and proper punctuations, which play a
role in identifying the document. Some texts were divided into units based on sense, giving an
impression about the interpretive procedures that were meant for the non-natives of the Greek-
speaking nations.
Ultimately, Hurtado analyzes the corrections that had been made in the early
documentation of Christian literature. According to the author, such alterations create the basis
for the idea that the scribes were reproducing the writings. Therefore, the revisions would
indicate that the process was more concerned with the accuracy of the document rather than the
relevance of the presentation. Through this argument, Hurtado dismisses all the controversial
claims that have been arising over the corrections. He adds two appendices, one giving the list of
manuscripts with the Christian literature texts, and the other illustrating the photographic plates
that the documents discussed in the book contain. Furthermore, the technical terms are specified.
Conclusion
The focus of this review was to analyze the writing of the codex and the existing
evidence regarding Christian and Jewish religions. Notably, the book provides explicit
elaboration of the aspects that have raised concerns within Christianity. The distinction between
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Jewish religion and Christianity is well presented. Furthermore, the significance of the founder
of Christianity has been accentuated. Many of the controversies that have been erupting in the
recent past are cleared in the text. However, the author advises the readers to ignore writings that
are not supported by any evidence of relation to the one of the two religions since they are only
meant to create confusion. In this regard, the book is useful to the individuals who wish to
analyze the New Testament. Mainly, it contains the basic information.
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Bibliography
Hurtado, Larry W. The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins. Grand
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2006.

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