[b-greek] Re: Luke and Acts

From: James S. Murray (jsmurray@execpc.com)
Date: Tue Apr 24 2001 - 22:26:25 EDT

Craig Jackson wrote:

> Why were Luke and Acts written on 2 separate scrolls?
> Craig Jackson, Student, Ellettsville, IN


I've recently been reading Metzger's 'the Text of the New Testament' and thought you
might find his comments of interest.

"The length of such a papyrus roll was limited by considerations of convenience in
handling the roll; the normal Greek literary roll seldom exceeded 35 feet in length.
Ancient authors therefore would divide a long literary work into several 'books',
each of which could be accommodated in one roll. The two longest books in the New
Testament - the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts - would each have filled an
ordinary papyrus roll of 31 or 32 feet in length. Doubtless this is one of the
reasons why Luke-Acts was issued in two volumes instead of one."*

As to Tedd's question of whether they were written originally on scrolls or in a
codex, I believe it is generally felt that the codex became more popular in the 2nd
century, or at the earliest, late 1st century. So I guess it depends on when one
thinks Luke-Acts was written.

Hope this helps,

Jim Murray
Racine, WI

* The Text of the New Testament; Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration', 3rd
Edition, Bruce M. Metzger, Oxford University Press, 1992

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