Roger S. Bagnall, Early Christian Books in Egypt. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2009.
Roger Bagnall is one of the foremost authorities on the written remains of Roman Egypt and the evidence they offer us for a lost world, but in this slender volume he wears his formidable learning lightly. The four essays that make up the book are adapted from lectures he gave at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris in 2006. They offer engaging and approachable insights into a field of research in which even professional classicists are compelled to defer to the training and experience of experts, but which remains of interest to many. With a sweeping breadth that sacrifices remarkably little in the way of convincing depth, Bagnall makes an up-to-date survey of the topic of early Christian books in Egypt, indicates where (and why) research may have gone astray in the past, and points the way forward for future work.