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Why did Christians in the second through fifth centuries overwhelmingly utilize the codex format while other contemporaries used the scroll for literary texts almost exclusively? We offer the concept of "generic materiality," which connects genre with material format. The early readers and users of the Gospel according to Mark in particular, and other gospels more generally, often described and treated them not as "books" with authors but as ὑπομνήματα or commentarii. Notebooks like ὑπομνήματα are typically described as circulating in tabulae, or the codex form. The prevalence of the codex form among second- through fifth-century biblical manuscripts derives in large part from durable generic expectations.