The Papyri and Early Christianity

David G. Martinez

in The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199843695
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 The Papyri and Early Christianity

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Papyrology
  • Historical Archaeology


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Two events, one occurring during Greek rule in Egypt and the other during Roman rule, brought about a new status for the great world language. The first was the translation of the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, produced in Egypt, starting early in the Ptolemaic dynasty. The second was the advent of Christianity and the vigorous production and dissemination of Greek Christian scriptures and other sacred material in Egypt and throughout the Mediterranean world. This article reflects Greek in its capacity as the language of the sacred, as well as of daily life in early Christianity. It examines Christian literary papyri and Christian documentary papyri.

Keywords: Mediterranean world; Greek Christian scriptures; Christianity; Septuagint; Hebrew Bible; Christian literary papyri

Article.  14596 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Papyrology ; Historical Archaeology

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