God's library

the archaeology of the earliest Christian manuscripts

Brent Nongbri

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In this bold and groundbreaking book, Brent Nongbri provides an up-to-date introduction to the major collections of early Christian manuscripts and demonstrates that much of what we thought we knew about these books and fragments is mistaken. While biblical scholars have expended much effort in their study of the texts contained within the earliest Christian manuscripts, there has been a surprising lack of interest in thinking about these books as material objects with individual, unique histories. We have too often ignored the ways that the antiquities market obscures our knowledge of the origins of these manuscripts.

Through painstaking archival research and detailed studies of the most important collections of early Christian manuscripts, Nongbri vividly shows that the earliest Christian books are more than just carriers of texts or samples of handwriting. They are three-dimensional archaeological artifacts with fascinating stories to tell, if we’re willing to listen.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Haven ; London
PublisherYale University Press
Number of pages403
ISBN (Print)030021541X, 9780300215410
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Christian literature, Early
  • Manuscripts, Greek (Papyri)
  • Christianity
  • Papyrus

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  • Prizes

    DeLong Book History Prize

    Brent Nongbri (Recipient), 2019


  • Cite this

    Nongbri, B. (2018). God's library: the archaeology of the earliest Christian manuscripts. New Haven ; London: Yale University Press.