METHODS AND MATERIALS OF WRITING
these days of high speed printing and computer graphics it is hard
to visualize a period of time when all written communication was
done by hand. However in the days of Jesus and the early church
such was the case. The two most common materials used for writing
in this period of time were papyrus and vellum or parchment.
Papyrus: Papyrus originated in Egypt at least 2500 years before
the time of Christ and was by far the most common writing material
in use when the New Testament was written. Manufactured from the
papyrus plant this paper like material was first used in scrolls
and then in later times in codice or book form. Thin strips were
cut from the stem of the Papyrus plant and laid side by side in
an overlapping fashion. A second similar layer was laid crossways
over the first. The layers were pressed and glued together to form
sheets. Numerous sheets would then be joined together to form scrolls.
Pens made from dried reeds cut to a point and slit in the end were
first used as writing instruments. Later in time quills became more
popular as writing instruments.
Vellum & Parchment: Vellum and Parchment are the names used
to describe the animal skins that were prepared to receive written
words with reed or quill pen. The oldest known leather scrolls of
this type in existence today date back to 1500bc. The animal skins
were prepared by soaking them in limewater and scraping them clean
of all hair Afterwards they were dried and then rubbed smooth with
a pumice stone. This process made for an extremely durable writing
surface which was a great asset in the preservation of the early
Greek manuscripts. Technically, Vellum refers to the higher quality
sheets that were derived from the skins of calves. Parchment was
derived from other animals like bulls and goats which resulted in
a product of a lesser quality.