Brown vs. Hurtado [Hollerbach]

Peter Brown’s and Larry Hurtado’s writings are both argumentative pieces on specific aspects of Christianity. With the exception of this similarity, their writings contain many distinct differences. In The World of Late Antiquity, Brown asserts that the spread of Christianity was a decisive event and that it did not lead to the decline of society as a whole. His argument went directly against the common belief of his time. On the other hand, Hurtado lays out evidence for the early Christian preference for the codex and the reason for it. Not only were their arguments different, but also their use of evidence and the assumptions they make in regards to their audiences.

Peter Brown is a historian who is very knowledgable about the field of Christianity. He has written many pieces similar to The World of Late Antiquity. The evidence he uses in his writings has been compiled through years of research conducted on his own. In his writing this turns out be very similar to a history or religion textbook. Also,Brown writes in a diachronic fashion. In contrast, Hurtado has much less of a personal connection to his evidence. In Hurtado’s writing The Early Christian Preference of the Codex, his evidence is drawn directly from the Leuven Database of Ancient Books (LDAB). In Brown’s writing he uses his expertise in his field to blur the lines between historical facts and his own personal opinion. Hurtado, on the contrary, lays out quantitative data in a relatively repetitive manner. The subject upon which he writes is much less debated, but he provides the readers with ample evidence anyways.

Another drastic difference between these two writers’ styles is their concept of who their audience is. Brown seems to write under the assumption that those reading his paper have an adequate amount of background knowledge on the spread of Christianity. The audiences most likely to be engaged by Brown’s writing are Christians or those of historical interest, which holds relatively true for Hurtado’s writing as well. Hurtado writes for an audience with no knowledge of the Christian preference for the codex over the scroll. This is evident through his continual repetition of his evidence and the main points that he is trying to make.

Brown’s and Hurtado’s drastically different writing styles are good examples of the broad spectrum of writing techniques that can be effective in arguing a point.

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