Christian Writing from the First Century

Image: Early Christian Book

The BBC is reporting that a Bedouin has found in a cave in Jordan more than 70 books that may be Christian writing from the first century. According to the report, the books may be almost 2,000 years old.

Preliminary study of the writings indicates that the content of the books may provide information about the death and resurrection of Christ.

The director of the Jordan’s Department of Antiquities said the books were written by Christian disciples a few years immediately after Christ’s crucifixion.

Below is an excerpt from the article in which Philip David gives his interpretation of the finding:

Philip Davies, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament Studies at Sheffield University, says the most powerful evidence for a Christian origin lies in plates cast into a picture map of the holy city of Jerusalem.

“As soon as I saw that, I was dumbstruck. That struck me as so obviously a Christian image,” he says.

“There is a cross in the foreground, and behind it is what has to be the tomb [of Jesus], a small building with an opening, and behind that the walls of the city. There are walls depicted on other pages of these books too and they almost certainly refer to Jerusalem.”

It is the cross that is the most telling feature, in the shape of a capital T, as the crosses used by Romans for crucifixion were.

“It is a Christian crucifixion taking place outside the city walls,” says Mr. Davies.

This finding is a very important archaeological discovery because if the books are from the early days of Christianity, then these documents may indeed provide vital information about how the early Christians understood the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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6 Responses to Christian Writing from the First Century

  1. Bible Prof says:

    >Wow, this will be really interesting to follow as these are translated.

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  2. >Bible Prof,I agree with you. This finding may open new doors for the understanding of early Christianity.Claude Mariottini

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  3. Daniel says:

    >What an interesting story. I hope it is not a forgery. As I look at the picture of the little codex, I wonder how it opens, being held together by rings on 3 sides.

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  4. >Daniel,I also hope it is not a forgery because this discovery may offer a lot of information about early Christianity.I also noticed the rings. It is possible that the rings open on one side so that the book may be opened.Claude Mariottini

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  5. Johnny C says:

    >the books vary in their configurations. Some are ring bound on one side only, to be read as a book, it would appear.Others are bound on all four sides! The number of rings varies – from a dozen or so [or less, on one side] to many more… Be sure to look at the pictures as they become availableWhy such a thing would be ring sealed on all four sides is a mysteryreminiscent of a scroll sealed with seven seals… but there are more than seven rings… It will be interesting to find what is within the books, pictures and textI will be following this story – it may have parallels with the copper scrolls…

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  6. >Johnny,All of us who deal with biblical studies are waiting for the authentication of these books and the publication of what the books reveal.There is a lot of skepticism about the authentication of the books. I just hope the scholarly community will not be disappointed by these findings.Claude Mariottini

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