Book Notice: Communal Reading in the Time of Jesus, by Brian J. Wright

One of my former interns, colleague on some CSNTM expeditions, and a DTS alumnus, Brian Wright, has written a book on ancient book culture that has been labeled ‘groundbreaking,’ ‘seminal,’ and ‘a must read’ by several scholars in the field. It is already getting some serious attention-—even before publication. For example, Larry Hurtado, who wrote the Foreword for the book, noted it in a recent blog post he titled, “Is a Paradigm Shift Now Called for?

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 The book not only is wide ranging in its research, it is also wide ranging in the endorsements from scholars of the New Testament and Early Christianity. The names comprise a Who’s Who in the field: Richard Bauckham, Michael Bird, Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, D. A. Carson, James Harrison, Craig Keener, Wayne Meeks Alan Millard, Stanley Porter, Brian Rosner, Tom Schreiner, and Bruce Winter.

Brian has constructed a compelling case that communal reading events were a wide-spread phenomenon in the first century AD. If he is correct, this could overturn or at least seriously alter the consensus of the discipline in several areas, including textual transmission, oral performance, and ancient literacy. It’s an innovative and significant contribution from an up-and-coming New Testament scholar!

Communal Reading in the Time of Jesus is scheduled to be released on December 1. This would make a great Christmas present for all the nerds out there who are serious about historical issues related to the New Testament. You can pre-order a copy of it on Amazon.


5 thoughts on “Book Notice: Communal Reading in the Time of Jesus, by Brian J. Wright

  1. RWL

    If Brian Wright’s book/research delineates that early 1st century Christians engaged in Bible Reading/Study, I wonder if this was done amongst only the rich/wealthy/higher social class Christians. According to Paul, all socio-economic classes of Christians mingled/had church in the same household/building, but (assuming that the higher social classes were literate) did the higher social class of Christians read/studied the bible with the mid-lower (who were not that literate as the upper classes were) class of Christians? Or did they (higher class) just studied/read with their peers? Did the early Church Fathers or 1st century ‘preachers’ teach the early followers (especially, since the illiteracy rate was probably very high) of Christ how to read and write, as well as sharing the gospel with them?

    I will add the book to my saved amazon account…..


    1. RWL –

      That’s a great question and observation! I think you may enjoy reading my article on ancient literacy and the Roman news bulletin before my book arrives, which Fortress just told me that they have updated the release to this Thursday, Nov. 16th on Amazon.

      Thanks for your time and interaction!


    1. Brian J. Wright

      RPR –

      Yes, depending on how it is all defined/developed, I could see it contributing to those discussions. I do not pursue or forecast any of that in my book, but please let me know what you think if you end up reading it. Thanks for the question!


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