Stuff Early Christians Read

HTML of transcriptions and translations for the Stuff Early Christians Read project.

All material in this repository is Copyright 2018–2021 Rick Brannan unless otherwise noted.

I have blogged about some of these transcriptions on my personal web site, I publish a weekly newsletter that usually mentions some work on a fragment transcription housed here, so if you’re interested please subscribe.

Transcriptions are available to view.


Transcriptions are largely reproduced from the named source. In these transcriptions, I have typically removed accents (for ease of typing) and also have typically not represented the size of lacunae ([...]). My interest is primarily in easy transcription, not in encoding every single data point necessary for a visual reproduction of the fragment.


If I have used a published source for the translation, I have noted it. If there is no translation source noted, the translation is my own. Please Note: Not all transcriptions have translation, and some transcriptions are only partially translated.


I encode the transcriptions and translations as XML and have code that creates the HTML. At present, I’m only providing the HTML in this repo.


I started to poke around transcriptions of early Christian fragments (“early” is defined as 5th century or before for this project) after reading Clarysse and Orsini’s Christian Manuscripts from Egypt to the Times of Constantine. I focused on the items in the list that are not LXX or NT, and are also not from known authors, but are (defensibly) Christian. I became fascinated with the material and have since cobbled together a list of over 70 fragments from all sorts of sources. The list is still growing. These are typically Christian prayers, amulets, letters, homilies, or liturgical documents of some sort. They are all incredibly interesting as they are physical remnants of real people with some sort of Christian religious obligation, desire, or plea. They are literally connections to the Christianity of over 1500 years ago.

What’s the End Game?

At some future point, I do hope to publish something about this material, but at present am only gathering information and researching.