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rogue06
04-11-2016, 09:42 PM
To be kept in mind the next time someone drones on about the Bible being composed by "illiterate Bronze Age goat herders"



Eliashib, the quartermaster of the remote desert fortress, received his instructions in writing — notes inscribed in ink on pottery asking for provisions to be sent to forces in the ancient kingdom of Judah.

The requests for wine, flour and oil read like mundane, if ancient, shopping lists. But a new analysis of the handwriting suggests that literacy may have been far more widespread than previously known in the Holy Land around 600 B.C., toward the end of the First Temple period. The findings, according to the researchers from Tel Aviv University, could have some bearing on a century-old debate about when the main body of biblical texts was composed.

“To Eliashib: And now, give the Kittiyim 3 baths of wine, and write the name of the day,” read one of the texts, composed in ancient Hebrew using the Aramaic alphabet, and apparently referring to a Greek mercenary unit in the area.

Another said: “And a full homer of wine, bring tomorrow; don’t be late. And if there is vinegar, give it to them.”

The new study, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, combined archaeology, Jewish history and applied mathematics, and involved computerized image processing and the development of an algorithm to distinguish between the various authors issuing the commands.

Based on a statistical analysis of the results, and taking into account the content of the texts that were chosen for the sample, the researchers concluded that at least six different hands had written the 18 missives at around the same time. Even soldiers in the lower ranks of the Judahite army, it appears, could read and write.

“There is something psychological beyond the statistics,” said Prof. Israel Finkelstein of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations at Tel Aviv University, one of the leaders of the project. “There is an understanding of the power of literacy. And they wrote well, with hardly any mistakes.”



Source (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/12/world/middleeast/new-evidence-onwhen-bible-was-written-ancient-shopping-lists.html?_r=0)


I had long heard that the Jews were regarded as being among the most, if not the most, literate people in the Mediterranean region.

The abstract from the paper itself: Algorithmic handwriting analysis of Judah’s military correspondence sheds light on composition of biblical texts (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/04/05/1522200113.abstract)

rogue06
04-12-2016, 09:31 PM
According to the experts this finding could well push the dating of the earliest Biblical texts back at least 200 years from what is generally assumed.

Raphael
04-12-2016, 10:06 PM
I wonder what the story is around this particular one: "And a full homer of wine, bring tomorrow; don’t be late. And if there is vinegar, give it to them."

rogue06
04-13-2016, 07:36 AM
I wonder what the story is around this particular one: "And a full homer of wine, bring tomorrow; don’t be late. And if there is vinegar, give it to them."

14858

Sparko
04-13-2016, 11:31 AM
Another said: “And a full homer of wine, bring tomorrow; don’t be late. And if there is vinegar, give it to them.”

Obviously that was a shopping list from a wife. "don't forget the milk and bread on your way home"

Carrikature
04-13-2016, 11:47 AM
Another said: “And a full homer of wine, bring tomorrow; don’t be late. And if there is vinegar, give it to them.”

Obviously that was a shopping list from a wife. "don't forget the milk and bread on your way home"

The true story behind "ET phone home".

shunyadragon
04-14-2016, 05:16 AM
To be kept in mind the next time someone drones on about the Bible being composed by "illiterate Bronze Age goat herders"


I had long heard that the Jews were regarded as being among the most, if not the most, literate people in the Mediterranean region.

This is clearly an over statement, particularly concerning the origins of the Bible. The Evidence overwhelmingly indicate that the Egyptians, Babylonians, Ugarites, and Sumarians clearly have a longer history of literacy than the Hebrew tribes. Definitely NOT the most literate people of the Mediterranean.

Yes, the Bible was originally composed, edited and redacted, and added to 'after' the dates of this discovery.

One Bad Pig
04-14-2016, 06:43 AM
I had long heard that the Jews were regarded as being among the most, if not the most, literate people in the Mediterranean region.

This is clearly an over statement, particularly concerning the origins of the Bible. The Evidence overwhelmingly indicate that the Egyptians, Babylonians, Ugarites, and Sumarians clearly have a longer history of literacy than the Hebrew tribes. Definitely NOT the most literate people of the Mediterranean.

You're confusing two different concepts here. One is how long a society has had writing. The other is what portion of a particular society is literate. The second is what is in view here; you're arguing regarding the first.

rogue06
04-14-2016, 11:45 AM
I had long heard that the Jews were regarded as being among the most, if not the most, literate people in the Mediterranean region.

This is clearly an over statement, particularly concerning the origins of the Bible. The Evidence overwhelmingly indicate that the Egyptians, Babylonians, Ugarites, and Sumarians clearly have a longer history of literacy than the Hebrew tribes. Definitely NOT the most literate people of the Mediterranean.

Yes, the Bible was originally composed, edited and redacted, and added to 'after' the dates of this discovery.
Having a longer history of being literate is not the same as being more literate. As this discovery verifies, literacy was not exclusively found among the most educated as it was in other societies. It appears to be much more widespread in ancient Israel (or Judah) as even low ranked soldiers in an isolated location were able to read and write

shunyadragon
04-15-2016, 06:01 AM
Having a longer history of being literate is not the same as being more literate. As this discovery verifies, literacy was not exclusively found among the most educated as it was in other societies. It appears to be much more widespread in ancient Israel (or Judah) as even low ranked soldiers in an isolated location were able to read and write

Your over emphasizing one find to justify an agenda. Many examples dating far older in the other cultures have found writing used in every day commerce, which directly translates to people working in commerce would be literate far older than any thing found ancient Judaism.

It is shear unrealistic speculation to justify more ancient Biblical scripture older than the present finds based on this find. Nothing has been found so far concerning Biblical text older than the silver scrolls.

rogue06
04-15-2016, 06:38 AM
Your over emphasizing one find to justify an agenda. Many examples dating far older in the other cultures have found writing used in every day commerce, which directly translates to people working in commerce would be literate far older than any thing found ancient Judaism.

It is shear unrealistic speculation to justify more ancient Biblical scripture older than the present finds based on this find. Nothing has been found so far concerning Biblical text older than the silver scrolls.
Again you are confusing how long a people were literate with the percentage of the populace that is literate. By your reasoning England in the Middle Ages (with a literacy rate well under 10%) were more literate than the US is today (with a literacy rate over 90%).

We're not talking about something written by one person but by half a dozen different people among a small group including low ranking soldiers (historically speaking a group where high levels of reading and writing are not found) at an isolated fort (not a commerce or cultural center where higher levels of literacy would normally be found) that are remarkably free of errors.

shunyadragon
04-15-2016, 10:35 AM
Again you are confusing how long a people were literate with the percentage of the populace that is literate. By your reasoning England in the Middle Ages (with a literacy rate well under 10%) were more literate than the US is today (with a literacy rate over 90%).

We're not talking about something written by one person but by half a dozen different people among a small group including low ranking soldiers (historically speaking a group where high levels of reading and writing are not found) at an isolated fort (not a commerce or cultural center where higher levels of literacy would normally be found) that are remarkably free of errors.

No problem, you are still far over reaching your conclusions concerning the differences in the history of literacy of cultures with just one discovery. It is a matter of fact that writing existed throughout the commercial world over at least a thousand years before any known writing in the Hebrew pastoral tribes, and labels on containers and trade tablets would would require workers to be able to read them. If you have writing for over a thousand years as tool of communication you will have wide spread literacy for commercial purposes.

I have no problem with the ramifications of this discover among the Hebrews, but you are neglecting the prrior over a thousand years of writing in the other cultures surrounding the Hebrew pastoral tribes that only had rudimentary Canaanite and Ugarite writing if that prior to ~800-1000 BCE. Still is is unsubstantiated conjecture the Hebrew Torah writings prior to this time. The only evidence of Biblical writings prior to this perriod is Ugarite, Canaanite and pre-Babylonian cuneiform tablets.