Language & Identity in Early Christian Texts


(Larry Hurtado)  Earlier this week I finished reading the newly-published version of the PhD thesis of another of our recent students:

Julia A. Snyder, Language and Identity in Ancient Narratives, WUNT 2, no. 370 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014).

She demonstrates admirable familiarity with principles of linguistics, especially socio-linguistics, applying herself to three case-study texts:  Acts of the Apostles, Acts of John, and Acts of Philip.  For each text, her question is whether the terminology of speakers varies with difference audiences being addressed.  In particular, when Christians are portrayed addressing other believers do they use different terminology (e.g., in referring to Christ and/or God) than when addressing “outsiders”?

It’s data-rich, measured and careful in making judgements, and to my mind persuasive in them.  Congratulations, Julia!

A New Study of Codex Alexandrinus


(Larry Hurtado)  I’m pleased to announce the publication of an in-depth study of Codex Alexandrinus, a fifth-century manuscript, one of the three earliest codices containing the entire Christian Bible:   W. Andrew Smith, , A Study of the Gospels in Codex Alexandrinus: Codicology, Palaeography, and Scribal Hands (Leiden: Brill, 2014).  It’s all the more a pleasure to note this publication as it’s based on Smith’s  2013 PhD thesis completed here.  I am pleased also to have served as his principal supervisor.

The book focuses on the Gospels, but also addresses wider questions of codicology (i.e., the physical features of the codex itself).  Smith then probes with considerable expertise the scribal hands (he argues for more than one scribe), and marginalia, and various other matters.  The result is surely the most detailed study of Codex Alexandrinus in many years, and a ground-breaking study of the Gospels in this manuscript in particular.

Excavations at Roman Fort: Binchester


(Larry Hurtado) Recent archaeological work at the Roman site, Vinovia (now known as Binchester, in County Durham (UK) has yielded results include evidence of Christianity.  In particular, findings include a silver ring with an intaglio inset with an anchor and two fish set in a fashion familiar in early Christian art/symbols:


It is interesting to find this sort of evidence in the remains of a military garrison.  The ring is likely from the 4th century CE.  For more information on the site and the archaeological work, see here.