May 5, 2006
Popular fiction and a new 'gospel' put scholars of early Christianity in the spotlight — with mixed results for their work
Studying the early Christian writings found in Egypt over the past 110 years is painstaking, even frustrating work. The texts were written on brittle papyrus, often in tantalizing fragments, in Coptic — an Egyptian language rendered in Greek letters.
Until the 1980s, the scholars who worked on these writings formed a small circle