What Did Early Christians Read?


Rick Brannan

P.Oxy. 63.4365 (transcription, images) is a letter from one woman to another regarding lending books to each other. The letter, albeit short, indicates that both women were Christian and familiar with reading Christian manuscripts.

P.Oxy. 63.4365

The letter author requests “the Ezra” (likely the pseudepigraphal 4 Ezra) and reminds the recipient that she was lent the “Little Genesis” (another way to refer to the pseudepigraphal book of Jubilees). The entire text is as follows:

To my dearest lady sister in the Lord, greetings. Lend the Ezra, since I lent you the Little Genesis. Farewell from us in God.

AnneMarie Luijendijk, Greetings in the Lord: Early Christians and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Harvard Theological Studies vol. 60. Harvard University Press, Cambridge: 2008, p. 71.

This letter, dated to the early fourth century, was discovered in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. It indicates that there were literate people at that…

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