Were Early Christian Scribes Untrained Amateurs?

In the ongoing debates about the reliability of early Christian manuscripts, and whether they have been transmitted with fidelity, it is often claimed that early Christian scribes were amateurs, unprofessional, and some probably couldn’t even read.

In Michael Satlow’s book, How the Bible Became Holy (Yale, 2014), this same sort of argument appears (for my full review, see here).  Satlow’s book argues that both the OT and NT canons were late bloomers, and that they bore no real authority until the third or fourth century CE.  And part of the evidence for this claim comes from Satlow’s assessment of the NT manuscripts.  He states:

The copies of early Christian …

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My Review of “How the Bible Became Holy”

This past week, my review of Michael Satlow, How the Bible Became Holy (Yale, 2014) appeared in the latest volume of Themelios.

As the title suggests, this is yet another book (in a long list of predecessors) that insists that the idea of an authoritative Scripture is a late invention of Christians.

According to Satlow, the Bible was not originally holy. It became holy. And that didn’t even happen until well into the third century or later.

Although Satlow’s volume covers both OT and NT issues, my review addressed some weaknesses on the NT side of things:

As for the development of the New Testament canon, Satlow provides a

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