[b-hebrew] II kings 22

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Dec 12 13:14:27 EST 2012


Nir:

There’s another consideration that was common before the typewriter: even
in societies with near universal literacy, there was ready employment for
anyone who could write with good, clear penmanship.

Jeremiah was literate, there’s record of him writing, but he hired Baruch
for his penmanship.

Outside the Bible, we have the story of Charlemagne—he was literate, but
his penmanship was atrocious. He hired scribes.

If several people were to discuss a document in a group, they didn’t hand
out xeroxed copies or project the document onto a screen, rather they had
someone read it to the group.

What is described in this passage was a common occurrence, except in this
case the subject was Torah.

Karl W. Randolph.

On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 9:34 AM, Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. <nir at ccet.ufrn.br>wrote:

> jim,
>
> i agree with dave and yigal. your version is, of course,
> POSSIBLE; the question is, as is always the question with your
> theories, whether it is also PROBABLE, compared with other
> possible explanations. here are some alternative, which you may
> consider separately or jointly.
>
> 1. the scribe (SOFER) was there specifically to read and write.
> if everybody else had done his job, he would not be called SOFER.
> his job may have included not just the physical reading, but also
> the grammatical interpretation, and even political
> censorship of certain difficult passages in the text. it
> must have been considered a very responsible job.
>
> 2. moreover, the SOFER had to read the text LOUDLY in front of a gathered
> assembly, a task which the priest or the king may have considered
> unworthy of office. could even be embarrassing if these dignitaries
> had glitched over a complicated word.
>
> 3. not everybody at that time was supposed to be literate, as
> nowadays. this may have easily included high ranking officers,
> priests and even kings. especially if you rise to power at the age of 8.
>
> even some of the prophets, of a possibly much lower status in society,
> used a clerk to dictate their prophecies.
>
> 4. glasses were not in use and eye infections may have been
> very common. many people, especially the older, may have had
> difficulty making out an old fading text scribbled in
> feather and ink on an animal skin.
>
> 5. indeed there is no evidence in the text that the priest or the king did
> not
> know to read. we are talking about hectic reconstructions in the temple
> made
> in a very troubled historical period. both priest and king may
> have been totally absorbed in the hectic reconstruction work in the
> temple and desperate defence plans in view of incoming invasions.
> they did not have time to read.
>
> nir cohen
>
>
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