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

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Jul 8 09:57:07 EDT 2004


Dear Peter,

>We can only guess, as we know almost nothing about the Israelite 
>community of that time except for what is written in the Bible. 
>Anything based on other communities of the time is highly 
>speculative because we know that at least a few centuries later the 
>Jewish community was much more literate than many surrounding 
>peoples, and that distinction might date back to your period. The 
>stronger limitation would probably have been whether people had 
>copies; there would probably have been few copies in existence, and 
>quite possibly only the priestly community had direct access to them.

HH: Since it is standard to hear, as Yigal said, that literary was 
low in ancient times, Kenneth Kitchen surprised me, in his recent 
book _On the Reliability of the Old Testament_, when he claimed that 
archeological finds suggest that even in pre-exilic times there may 
have been some functional literary widely spread through the 
population.

				Yours,
				Harold Holmyard



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