[b-hebrew] Moses' writing? [was: The New Testament]

rochelle altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Thu Oct 26 12:47:45 EDT 2006

Hi, Karl,

>Was ancient Israel illiterate? Or did the use of a phonetic alphabet
>allow the use of basic literacy to permeate the whole society? I
>always thought it was the latter.

I have me doots as to the literacy of the majority, certainly at the time 
of b'midbar. So do most scholars, still, they were city mice until they 
followed Moses. One needs free time to learn to read and write. It also 
depends upon whether they followed the Egyptian limited literacy tradition 
or the Eastern side free-man literacy tradition. The question cannot be 

>When Moses wrote the Torah book, there were no walls to display it on.

Of course not.

>And except for the copy that Joshua had made on the mountainside,
>there continued to be no walls at the judicial center of the country
>until Solomon, hundreds of years after Torah was written.

Exactly. Hey, these were reluctant "country" mice. The moment they had a 
place, they built walls and would have a place to put them. Town mice have 
the time to become educated, so the literacy rate in the towns would have 
been greater. Still can't be anwered.

>So could the absence of tablets from Biblical period Jewish sources be 
>that Jews of that period did not have that tradition?

No. too many ANE traditions are mentioned in the Tanakh. I've already 
pointed out one of them.
Then the older Psalms follow the ANE traditions set by Enheduanna back in 
the 24th BCE, so there's another one. (Cana'anite also follows the same 
tradition -- so no surprise that there are similarities between Cana'anite 
and biblical Poetry and song.)...

>Even the two tablets of the treaty were made to be hidden away in a box, not
>displayed publicly. And the Siloam inscription was basically workman's

Treaty? Oh, you mean the covenant. Covenants between a god and a person 
were not on public display. Covenants between a person, a god, and a third 
party were displayed (Zoilos is a three-party covenant). Law codes are a 
three party covenant. (That Hittite-Egyptian treaty was also displayed 
publicly -- even if precious few folks could read it.) The covenant is 
between Moses and God. (Just as the covenant is between Abraham and 
God.)  After Moses shows the two tablets to prove their existence, reads 
the 10C to the public, they are hidden away. Joshua's mishneh of the 
extended version is the public display.So, here's another ANE tradition 
referenced in the Torah.

The Siloam inscription...  Hmm, if we consider it a votive offering, (which 
is a covenant between a person and a god) then we would expect it to be 
relatively inaccessible... and the tunnel does bear comparison with a cave. 
Never thought about that aspect before. Thanks.

>Karl W. Randolph.

Hey, Karl, please, if you want to continue this, take it off-line.


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