parch'-ment (membrana (2Ti 4:13)): The word "parchment "which occurs only once (2Ti 4:13), is derived from Latin pergamena (Greek Pergamene), i.e. pertaining to Pergamum, the name of an ancient city in Asia Minor where, it is believed, parchment was first used. Parchment is made from the skins of sheep, goats or young calves. The hair and fleshy portions of the skin are removed as in tanning by first soaking in lime and then dehairing, scraping and washing. The skin is then stretched on a frame and treated with powdered chalk, or other absorptive agent, to remove the fatty substances, and is then dried. It is finally given a smooth surface by rubbing with powdered pumice. Parchment was extensively used at the time of the early Christians for scrolls, legal documents, etc., having replaced papyrus for that purpose. It was no doubt used at even a much earlier time. The roll mentioned in Jer 36:1-32 may have been of parchment. Scrolls were later replaced by codices of the same material. After the arabs introduced paper, parchment was still used for centuries for the book bindings. Diplomas printed on "sheepskins," still issued by many universities, represent the survival of an ancient use of parchment. See following article.
James A. Patch