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The Making of the New Testament

What motivated the early Christians to commit teaching and events and visions to papyrus? How were the stories and sayings of Jesus circulated, handed down and shaped into Gospels? Why were four Gospels included instead of one? What do we know about ancient letter writing, secretaries and "copy shops"? Would a first-century librarian have known how to classify a Gospel, an Acts or an Apocalypse? How were Paul's letters, sent here and there, gathered into a single collection? Are there other documents that almost made it into the New Testament but didn't? The narratives and letters of our New Testament were shaped by worn pens gripped by calloused, ink-stained fingers. Their authors' ears were more likely assaulted by the urban clatter of busy intersections and bustling markets than attuned to a still small voice. Scrolls that bumped across cobbled Roman roads and pitched through rolling Mediterranean seas found their destination in stuffy, dimly lit, crowded Christian house churches in Corinth or Cenchreae. There they were read aloud and reread, handled and copied, forwarded and collected, studied and treasured. Their ordinary story is true to their extraordinary message: the mystery of the Word that became flesh. InThe Making of the New Testament Arthur Patzia retells that story. His textbook study of the origin, collection, copying and canonizing of the New Testament documents answers a myriad of questions--cultural, historical, geographical, linguistic and spiritual.
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