jkilmon at historian.net
Sun Aug 25 10:35:45 EDT 2002
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <Peter_Kirk at sil.org>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at franklin.metalab.unc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, August 24, 2002 5:48 PM
Subject: RE: alliteration
> Jack, what period are you referring to with your "3% literate" and "the
> oral "common tongue" of the am ha'aretz (Aramaic) or in the written,
> lterate vehicle of the educated (Hebrew)"?
The second temple period.
> What is your evidence for
> this figure and this characterisation of language use? And what is their
> relevance to the composition (rather than the later memorisation) or
> biblical poetry, and based on what unexpressed assumptions about the
> dating of this poetry?
Bar-Ilan's paper at:
"It may be argued that the Tanna ruled in a unique case, but it seems that
usually the Tannaim did not speak of rare cases. On the contrary, most if
not all, of the cases studied show that the rules of the Tannaim played
their role in people's lives.27 Of course, it does not mean that in all
rural places there was such literacy, but, on the other hand, if there were
towns with 1% literacy, then the literacy of all the towns was not higher
than 5% (at most). Therefore, taking into consideration the above rule,
together with the fact that there are rules that reflect a zero literacy
rate in the rural areas lead to the assumption of a low rate of literacy in
the whole population. Even if we assume that in cities (as happens all over
the world in urban areas in comparison to rural areas), such as Tiberias,
for example, the literacy rate was double and even triple in comparison with
the towns, still the figures of literacy are around 2-15%. With the
assumption that the rural population was around 70% (with 0% literacy), 20%
of urban population (with 1-5% literacy), and 10% of highly urban population
(with 2-15% literacy), the total population literacy is still very low.
Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the total literacy rate in the Land
of Israel at that time (of Jews only, of course), was probably less than
And my reading of most of the papers referenced in:
And I used this period merely as an extension of the use of these tools in
the earlier Biblical period.
I just did a bad job of sorting my thoughts and communicating them.
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