How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
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26-07-2016, 07:34 PM
How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
I was thinking today about some of the questions I asked in the Contemporary Accounts of Jesus thread and realized there are a few others I should probably be asking (or asking again). One of the things bugging me when I started that thread was that there weren't any letters or correspondence between people in the areas Jesus was supposedly preaching and performing miracles in mentioning the incredible things he was supposedly doing. Only material that originated in the faith and was spread in order to proselytize. I mean it would only follow that people witnessing such amazing things would write to each other and spread news of it.

So just how literate were those areas? Does correspondence or other such material from that area and time period exist in such a way where we can observe a lack of material pertaining to Jesus' ministry?
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26-07-2016, 08:37 PM (This post was last modified: 26-07-2016 08:40 PM by SitaSky.)
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
(26-07-2016 07:34 PM)seoq Wrote:  I was thinking today about some of the questions I asked in the Contemporary Accounts of Jesus thread and realized there are a few others I should probably be asking (or asking again). One of the things bugging me when I started that thread was that there weren't any letters or correspondence between people in the areas Jesus was supposedly preaching and performing miracles in mentioning the incredible things he was supposedly doing. Only material that originated in the faith and was spread in order to proselytize. I mean it would only follow that people witnessing such amazing things would write to each other and spread news of it.

So just how literate were those areas? Does correspondence or other such material from that area and time period exist in such a way where we can observe a lack of material pertaining to Jesus' ministry?

That's a good question but it's important to know that literacy wasn't common for many many thousands of years. Even now there are many places where the majority of the population can't read or write.

Back in the times that Jesus lived pretty much only royalty and the religious elite could read and write and even if someone back then could somehow understand holy texts a lot of times it was written in Latin or Hebrew so only someone trained in those languages could even understand it, they would read it and then relate the information to their "flock". The many bible stories we have now started out as oral traditions so where they come from is hard to pin down and the original stories probably started out differently.

You can imagine how much power that gave them, they literally spoke for God and interpreted his will to the people. The writers of the time were often times part of the noble class, able to take many classes with tutors to become literate and study history, art, etc.

The common people were mostly farmers and laborers, even if they had access to writing tools they wouldn't be taught how to write since they couldn't afford the lessons, there were whole classes who were barred from ever learning so they could learn but it was more difficult for them, plus they didn't need to know how to read to do their jobs. Of course there are many factors involved here, they probably had a shorthand alphabet that would help them make notes. It's a good idea to read the history of literacy, it's very interesting.

You're not going to see very much correspondence for those reasons alone, even if you did it wouldn't be very reliable. That's why we depend on the writings of respected scholars and historians active at the time. Since none of them mention Jesus it's either because her never lived, never did anything important enough to be mentioned or well...we have a very long thread all about this so let's not get too crazy here.

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26-07-2016, 11:08 PM
How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
(26-07-2016 08:37 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  You're not going to see very much correspondence for those reasons alone, even if you did it wouldn't be very reliable. That's why we depend on the writings of respected scholars and historians active at the time. Since none of them mention Jesus it's either because her never lived, never did anything important enough to be mentioned or well...we have a very long thread all about this so let's not get too crazy here.

And how many writings of scholars and historians from first century Roman-Palestine do we have?

What Sitasky forgot to mention, is that the answer here, is only one. The writings of Josephus, who does mention Jesus in two separate passages one disputed, the other not.

The only other person worth mentioning here is Philo, though he wasn't from the area, and lived several hundred miles away.

If there were any other writings by individuals, scholars, historians or otherwise at the time about anything going on in that period, and place, by non-Christians, they didn't survive.






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"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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26-07-2016, 11:53 PM
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
Just to comment. Many of the epistles were written not by the claimed authors but by amanuenses.

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27-07-2016, 12:12 AM
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
(26-07-2016 11:08 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(26-07-2016 08:37 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  You're not going to see very much correspondence for those reasons alone, even if you did it wouldn't be very reliable. That's why we depend on the writings of respected scholars and historians active at the time. Since none of them mention Jesus it's either because her never lived, never did anything important enough to be mentioned or well...we have a very long thread all about this so let's not get too crazy here.

And how many writings of scholars and historians from first century Roman-Palestine do we have?

What Sitasky forgot to mention, is that the answer here, is only one. The writings of Josephus, who does mention Jesus in two separate passages one disputed, the other not.

The only other person worth mentioning here is Philo, though he wasn't from the area, and lived several hundred miles away.

If there were any other writings by individuals, scholars, historians or otherwise at the time about anything going on in that period, and place, by non-Christians, they didn't survive.






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I did mention the very long thread on this issue, no need to drag it up again. What tomato wont mention are all the direct questions I've asked him that he refuses to answer. Drinking Beverage

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27-07-2016, 12:42 AM
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
For most of the middle east. Unless you were a god ( ehem...I mean a pharaoh) a Merchant or the sultan or whatever else you want to call it. The punishment for learning how to read and write was death. You were NOT allowed to learn how to read or write since that was knowledge reserved only for the divine rulers GOD put on the earth to rule over all other human beings any way they saw fit. The only reason why merchants were given this gift of writing and reading was simply because they could keep far better stock of their goods and communicate with each other.

Basically the pecking order goes.

GOD....(I mean the human ruler of that land.)
Son of god...*oops* did it again...that HUMANS son...never the daughter unless there just isn't a son and the king dies...cuz well...she IS the kings flesh and blood and the laws of the gods say by rule by blood....or something like that. Anyway.
Then the kings right hand man.

Then the merchants. Because...well...MONEY! and they kind of own everything, control everything and produce everything and well...without them there is no such thing as an economy and without that there is no king. So writing was kind of important for a merchant.


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27-07-2016, 01:17 AM
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
The overall reading skill was virtually non existent.Of course when one asks about where Jesus lived, he lived in the Roman empire. People who learned this skill were usually from well to do families who could afford Greek teachers who were slaves. As far as I am aware, the only hindrance was money. If one could afford an education, one usually got it.

Most stories and histories etc were oral tradition. Good story tellers who could remember Homer, for example, made a decent living travelling around speaking tales from the Iliad and so on.

My brain is not so clear tonight, so I cannot recall things in great detail. I do not recall at this time if ever learning to read was against a law. Perhaps a slave may have been restricted by his master. However formal schools did exist but one payed fees.

Most regular people lacked the income to afford such luxuries.

Education in Rome was really about oration. Especially if one wanted to partake of a career in politics. Education in patrician families was deemed most important. Rome usually followed the Greek model. The study of history, poetry, plays, oratory etc. Cicero spoke often of his education in his letters. Pliny the younger was perhaps saved from his uncle's fate because he was made to stay home and study rather than go to the city with his uncle who died from the fumes.

But as anyone can see, I am rambling. Perhaps tomorrow I will be better served to give a fuller answer.

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27-07-2016, 01:27 AM
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
(26-07-2016 11:08 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(26-07-2016 08:37 PM)SitaSky Wrote:  You're not going to see very much correspondence for those reasons alone, even if you did it wouldn't be very reliable. That's why we depend on the writings of respected scholars and historians active at the time. Since none of them mention Jesus it's either because her never lived, never did anything important enough to be mentioned or well...we have a very long thread all about this so let's not get too crazy here.

And how many writings of scholars and historians from first century Roman-Palestine do we have?

What Sitasky forgot to mention, is that the answer here, is only one. The writings of Josephus, who does mention Jesus in two separate passages one disputed, the other not.

The only other person worth mentioning here is Philo, though he wasn't from the area, and lived several hundred miles away.

If there were any other writings by individuals, scholars, historians or otherwise at the time about anything going on in that period, and place, by non-Christians, they didn't survive.






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You're missing some pretty big names. I am not at my best at all, so forgive me.

I can think of a bunch of names off the top of my head. Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius etc.

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I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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27-07-2016, 05:40 AM
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
(26-07-2016 07:34 PM)seoq Wrote:  I was thinking today about some of the questions I asked in the Contemporary Accounts of Jesus thread and realized there are a few others I should probably be asking (or asking again). One of the things bugging me when I started that thread was that there weren't any letters or correspondence between people in the areas Jesus was supposedly preaching and performing miracles in mentioning the incredible things he was supposedly doing. Only material that originated in the faith and was spread in order to proselytize. I mean it would only follow that people witnessing such amazing things would write to each other and spread news of it.

So just how literate were those areas? Does correspondence or other such material from that area and time period exist in such a way where we can observe a lack of material pertaining to Jesus' ministry?

Gamaliel; who was a leader in the Sanhedrin, would have mentioned something. In fact, he probably would/should have been there when Jesus was on trial, and he would have argued against putting Jesus to death, just as he did with Peter years later.

Another notable no-mention during the times of Jesus. Consider

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27-07-2016, 06:33 AM
RE: How literate was the area Jesus supposedly preached in?
(27-07-2016 12:12 AM)SitaSky Wrote:  I did mention the very long thread on this issue, no need to drag it up again. What tomato wont mention are all the direct questions I've asked him that he refuses to answer. Drinking Beverage

I'm just correcting you on your misleading remarks, about none of the respected scholars and historians of active at time mentioned Jesus. When the amount of individuals who qualify, whose writings we have amount to two, one of which mentions Jesus, and other who lived several hundred miles away didn't.

You likely heard the remark you made somewhere else, and just repeated here, but in reality it's false.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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