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The Scribes [Kindle Edition]

Peter Rodgers
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.99
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Book Description

This book traces the fortunes and misfortunes of a group of scribes in the late second century Christian Church. Justin and Marcus are scribes for the Church of Rome. Juliana is a scribe of the Alexandrian church, and a member of the Catechetical school. The story begins when Juliana visits Rome, and she and Justin discover that they have different readings in their Gospel manuscripts. The story develops as Justin and Marcus travel to the churches of the Roman Empire, delivering letters for their bishop. Their final destination is Egypt, where the differences in readings and methods of copying intensifiy, as does Justin's growing affection for Juliana. Discover all the dangers and challenges faced by scribes and their manuscripts. Will Justin find the true text? Will he win his true love?


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter Rodgers was Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, New Haven Connecticut, and an Associate Fellow of Timothy Dwight College at Yale University from 1979 until 2003. He holds degrees from Hobart College, General Theological Seminary and Oxford University. Before coming to St. John's in 1979 he was curate for student ministry at the Round Church in Cambridge, England. He has published several journal articles on the text of the New Testament and is the author of Knowing Jesus (InterVarsity 1982, Forward Movement 1989), and Text and Story (Wipf and Stock, 2011). In his retirement, he teaches New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, Sacramento campus, and is Pastor of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Antelope, CA.

Product Details

  • File Size: 783 KB
  • Print Length: 454 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009949O6O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,840 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This novel about the love life of Justin and Juliana brings the Christian church of AD 179-180 alive, and gives us a sense of what it felt like to live in the Roman Empire as a minority religion that was generally viewed with contempt. But, even more important, this book makes us dramatically aware of issues of New Testament textual criticism, such as why the end of the Gospel of Mark is missing in many manuscripts. The study of how the documents evolved that later became the "New Testament" is an esoteric scholarly arena into which few lay people would venture. But this novel makes it simple amidst the love life of Justin and Juliana, two scribes involved in copying Scripture, how the Gospels of Mark and John came to have exactly the wording they now have. Rodgers' novel might have the title, "How the Orthodox Text of the New Testament Was Defended Against Corruption." There is continual debate inside the hero's mind as to the necessity of preserving (i.e. copying onto a new scroll or parchment) the text of the Gospels exactly as it was originally written by the Evangelists, even though modification of the text would have made the Gospels more marketable to the audience of AD 179. This novel covers the same years as the movie "Gladiator."
"The Scribes," although written for lay people, is a response to a controversial but esoteric and dry scholarly book by Bart Ehrman, "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture." Ehrman claimed that scribes who copied the Gospels century after century altered the text so as to make it more "orthodox," thereby corrupting it. Rodgers' novel takes the opposite view: that many scribes were scrupulously accurate, and that every scribe in the Roman Empire read everyone else's work, with the end result that the Gospels as we now have them are precisely what was originally written by the Evangelists.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read June 16, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was an excellent read. I couldn't put it down. Finished it in two evenings. Best read if you have a little background in Church History and New Testament. All of the Greek names of the people met by Marcus and Justin the protagonists, can be a little overwhelming. Marcus and Justin, two scribes, travel around ancient Rome finding themselves entangled in a number of historical events and meeting historical figures. Kind of like Forest Gump in the late Second Century. A detailed glossary at the end of the book of ancient church figures, and creeds and heresies would have been helpful.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Way to Learn History October 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am not good at learning history, but drink it up in historical novels. This novel presents the conundrum of properly translating scripture, even in a time not far-removed from the original writings. The story is easy to follow, and the historical information was nicely woven throughout the book. It didn't feel unnatural, allowed the book to flow well. It was a story that I enjoyed, and I was sad whe it ended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun introduction to textual criticism December 10, 2011
Format:Paperback
As a novel, this is not especially well written. It is definitely on the hokey side (flat characters, cheesy romance, etc.). However, it is a fun way of being introduced to the issues of New Testament textual criticism (i.e. determining the original wording of a given passage in the Bible when the underlying Greek manuscripts disagree).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First off, I have to say that I did enjoy this book. The sense of conviction the characters had in their beliefs and mission, the inner turmoil caused by having their convictions challenged by very real situations, and the historically legitimate portrayal of the culture surrounding the first century church all made this a really nice read. I did struggle at times with feeling like the story turned into a textbook, especially in the first half. And I found myself longing for the return to character dialogue and expression when the story seemed to get a little distracted with just telling scene setting facts in a short and clipped style. But I would still recommend it to anyone willing to plod through it and consider the historical support for our belief in the legitimacy of Scripture.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a graduate student in biblical studies this book was a refreshing and more day-to-day look at life in the second century. Reading academic articles does not do the justice that P. Rodgers does in this book. Please write more!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Scribes by Peter Rodgers October 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this Novel very interesting and difficult to put down! Truthfully I found a few sections early on in which the writing was a bit unclear,however, overall it was well written and the story line intriguing. The writer did a great job using the genre of Historical Mystery Adventure to impart knowledge of the Ancient world, to his readers as well as its languages bringing clearly into focus the Scribal codes and traditions used in Biblical transmission. Dealing well with issues, pertinent to both ancient and modern worlds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scrbes review October 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book. I knew how difficult it was to transcribe the Bible but not the specific details that this book provided. The plot was quite enjoyable as well. It made me feel quite grateful for my bible.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn about the early church
A great way to learn about the early church, and how we have come to have so many variant manuscripts. A fun and delightful story as well!
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and badly written
Boring and badly written. I always read books to the end but not this one. Nothing in it captured the attention and the writing was grammar school level at best.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I now better understand the accusation of 'heretic' against so many...
Reading this book, I walked in the shoes of early Christians. I now better understand the accusation of 'heretic' against so many groups who discerned the meaning of the gospels... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dan E Boeger
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book about early Christian scribes.
This was a very interesting story about early Christian scribes, and the different approaches they took in their copying of texts. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this novel by an Episcopal minister
I enjoyed this novel by an Episcopal minister. The author wove together factual, historical people with his own characters. Read more
Published 9 months ago by GrammyV
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically interesting but styalistly stiff
The plot had potential and it was interesting to look at the times and wonder how these historical trends had actually influenced history. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Alia Duffy
2.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great.
Interesting and informative. not really sure that I would recommend it to anyone. There must be better sources for this information.
Published 16 months ago by TMS
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but wordy
I liked the story line of this book but, I feel, it went into too long of pages of background. This became boring and detracted from the story.
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good historical settings
Well written, and exposes the reader to some really good historical settings of Biblical times. Keep in mind, it IS fictional and represents something that could have happened. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
It was a little too Christian for my taste. The writing itself was all right but I had hoped for more of the practicalties of writing.
Published 20 months ago by Ginali
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More About the Author

Peter Rodgers was Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, New Haven Connecticut, and an Associate Fellow of Timothy Dwight College at Yale University from 1979 until 2003. He holds degrees from Hobart College, General Theological Seminary and Oxford University. Before coming to St. John's in 1979 he was curate for student ministry at the Round Church in Cambridge, England. He has published several journal articles on the text of the New Testament and is the author of Knowing Jesus (InterVarsity 1982, Forward Movement 1989), and Text and Story (Wipf and Stock, 2011). In his retirement, he teaches New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, Sacramento campus, and is Pastor of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Antelope, CA.


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