Friday, April 23, 2010
Four Gospels as One Book
I liked this quote from David Parker's An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and Their Texts:
"The Four Gospels, the Tetraevangelium, is the book of Christianity - not four books, but one codex. Such manuscripts comprise more than a half of all continuous-text Greek copies of New Testament writings. In every ancient language of Christianity, copies of the Gospels predominate among what survives. And in case this preoccupation is seen as an ancient phenomenon, be it noted that the Gospels in these ancient languages are traditionally far better served with editions and results of research than is any other part of the New Testament. Moreover, more editions of the Gospel manuscripts have been published, in facsimile or in some other form" (p. 311).
One thing I like about the Book of Common Prayer is that every day has a Gospel reading. Though Protestants, esp. those of the evangelical and reformed variety, have a special affection for Paul, that should never interfere with the special and devout attention that Christians have for the story and teaching of Jesus.