[b-hebrew] Literature and literacy contemporary to the Torah.

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at beitberl.ac.il
Thu Jul 8 10:36:43 EDT 2004


The fact that si many ancient witnesses to the text (LXX, Sam., BT Baba
Batra 14b, Josephus too if I remember correctly) have the same order of
books, would seem to led credence to the theory that the Torah has existed
as one book since ancient times.
This is also true of the Dodecapropheton, in which the LXX has the same
order as the MT, in spite of the non-tripartite arrangement of the books of
the Tanakh, with the Latter Prophets at the end. The Rabbis in BT Baba
Bathra 14b have an identical order of the 12, but argue about it a bit, but
it's an ex post facto controversy.
Not so the dscussion about order of the three Major Prophets.
Jonathan D. Safren, Editor
Mo'ed - Annual for Jewish Studies
Center for Jewish Culture
Beit Berl College
Beit Berl Post Office
44905 Israel
Tel. 972-9-7476396
Fax 972-9-7475397
e-mail: moed at beitberl.ac.il



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 08, 2004 6:18 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Literature and literacy contemporary to the Torah.


> Rabbinic sources from about the 3rd or 4th century, if not earlier, refer
to
> the "sefer Torah" as one scroll. True, no such scroll was found at Qumran,
> but there is one of Genesis and Exodus together. The entire Pentateuch
would
> have had to be considered one long "book" from the start, otherwise the
> Priestly redaction makes no sense - although it may well have been
commonly
> divided into separate scrolls, just like many Jewish "humashim"
(individual
> volumes of each book, usually with commentaries) today.
>
> As for literacy, only a small percentage of people in antiquity could
read,
> and books were very expensive. That's exactly why Judaism, perhaps
beginning
> with Ezra, developed the practice of public reading of the Torah - to make
> it accessible to all.
>
> Yigal
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon at historian.net>
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>; "Christopher V. Kimball"
> <kimball at ntplx.net>
> Sent: Thursday, July 08, 2004 3:33 AM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Literature and literacy contemporary to the Torah.
>
>
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Christopher V. Kimball" <kimball at ntplx.net>
> > To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>; "Christopher V. Kimball"
> > <kimball at ntplx.net>
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004 7:13 PM
> > Subject: [b-hebrew] Literature and literacy contemporary to the Torah.
> >
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > Taking the Torah as a 5-6 th century BCE document, what other
documents
> OF
> > > COMPARABLE LENGTH, in any language, of this period are available?
> >
> > Each book, Bereshyt, Shmot, Vayikra, Ba-Midbar, Devarym were separate
> > scrolls.  Each of the Nabiym and Ketuvim were separate scrolls in the
> 6-5th
> > c. BCE and obviously some that had not yet been composed, like Daniel.
> The
> > custom of combining the "5 books of Moses" into one scroll of about 150
> feet
> > came later.  The oldest Torah scrolls date between the 8th and 12th
> > centuries.
> >
> > >
> > > Again focusing on the 5-6 th century BCE, how many people (of a
> population
> > > of how many) could read the Torah, if they had a copy?
> > >
> > > Chris Kimball
> >
> > About 3% according to:
> >
> > Bar-Ilan, M., 'From Scroll to Codex and its Effect on Reading the
Torah',
> > Sinai, 107 (1991), pp. 242-254 (Hebrew).
> > Bar-Ilan, M., 'Illiteracy in the Land of Israel in the First Centuries
> > C.E.', S. Fishbane, S. Schoenfeld and A. Goldschlaeger (eds.), Essays in
> the
> > Social Scientific Study of Judaism and Jewish Society, II, New York:
Ktav,
> > 1992, pp. 46-61. http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/illitera.html
> > Bar-Ilan, M., 'The Literate Woman in Antiquity', a chapter in the book
by:
> > idem. Some Jewish Women in Antiquity, Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press (Brown
> > Judaic Studies 317), 1998 (Abstract).
> >
> > Jack Kilmon
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
> >
> >
>
>
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