The earliest Christian witnesses

Rodney Schofield

While archaeological discoveries add to our knowledge of the New Testament, eyewitness accounts remain a vital source for our understanding of the Christian faith, writes Rodney Schofield, a priest in the diocese of Southwark.

Discoveries, doubts and discrepancies
Over the past two hundred years archaeologists in the field and researchers in their libraries have discovered a number of early Christian documents, often very incomplete, which were previously unknown ? or in some cases were mentioned in ancient texts but otherwise were thought to be lost. Outstanding finds include of course the Dead Sea Scrolls (although these come from a Jewish sect, the Qumran community) and the Nag Hammadi manuscripts from the desert of Upper Egypt.

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