Announcing My New Book with Oxford University Press

And an Update on Other Academic Projects

Michael J. Kruger

Posted on

March 18, 2024

Since this blog is primarily designed to put out lay-level content on the origins of the New Testament (among other issues), I don’t normally talk about the more technical scholarly projects I am working on behind the scenes. So, here’s a little update on what I’ve been up to academically.

1. First, I am pleased to announce that I have signed a contract with Oxford University Press for a forthcoming volume entitled, Miniature Codices in Early Christianity. The volume will be appearing in the Oxford Early Christian Studies series.

I have been working on the subject of miniature codices for more than twenty years now, ever since doing my thesis a while ago under Larry Hurtado on the apocryphal gospel fragment, P.Oxy. 840. I have also written on the miniature codex P.Ant. 12 (0232) which contains 2 John (see here, and inset picture), and a recent overview article on miniature codices in Paratextual Features in Early New Testament Papyri and Manuscripts, eds. Stanley E. Porter, Chris S. Stevens, and David I. Yoon (TENT 16; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2023), 310-329.

Miniature codices are basically tiny little books, “pocket Bibles” so to speak. From the time of the third century, and especially in the fourth and fifth centuries, Christians began to create these little manuscripts that contained portions of Scripture and sometimes even held multiple scriptural books. The early Christians probably used the miniature codex format for a number of reasons including private reading, portability for long journeys, and sometimes even in a “magical” sense (thinking it provided protection for the one who possessed it).

My forthcoming volume with OUP will rehearse prior research on miniature codices, the definition/characteristics of miniature codices, and the way they functioned in the early Christian movement. And, most importantly, the volume will include an updated catalog of all known Greek Christian miniature codices, including discussions of their palaeographical features and a brief bibliography for each.

2. For those who’ve read my book, Christianity at the Crossroads, you know that I have been fascinated with the second-century and its significance for the early Christian movement. I have recently completed an article, “New Testament Manuscripts Possibly from the Second Century,” which will appear in the forthcoming volume, Second-Century Christianity: A Sourcebook (Baylor Press), edited by Michael Bird and Scott Harrower. Writing that article has allowed me to explore afresh the complexities of our dating methods, particularly the limitations of dating manuscripts on palaeographical grounds alone.

3. Speaking of the second century, there has been a long-standing scholarly debate over how much of the New Testament writings were known (and used) by the earliest Christians during this time. Of particular importance is how much of the NT was utilized by the authors known as the Apostolic Fathers. For that reason, I am pleased to have written the forthcoming chapter “The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers,” in Ancient Literature for New Testament Studies (ALNTS), Vol 4: The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Paul Foster (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, forthcoming). I believe this volume will be released sometime next year.

4. Since we are talking about canon-related issues, there has also been a long-standing discussion of what role the perceived “inspiration” of a book played in its eventual acceptance into the canon. This issue was addressed extensively by Everett Kalin, followed by other scholars like Albert Sundberg, Craig Allert, and Lee MacDonald. In response, I have written the forthcoming chapter “Inspiration and the Formation of the New Testament Canon,” in The New Testament Canon in Contemporary Research, eds. Stanley E. Porter and Benjamin Laird (Leiden: E.J. Brill, forthcoming).

Keep an eye out for these works in the months and years to come!

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