Sorting by


Peter as Literate?

IN RESPONSE TO MY POSTS ON SECRETARIES AND THE BOOK OF 1 PETER, SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE RAISED THE QUESTION OF WHETHER PETER WAS HIMSELF LITERATE (ABLE TO READ, OR MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, TO WRITE). THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF WHAT I SAY IN MY BOOK FORGERY AND COUNTERFORGERY; THE SECOND PART WILL BE IN THE NEXT POST. ************************************************************************************************************************ In his now-classic study of ancient literacy, William Harris gave compelling reasons for thinking that at the best of times in antiquity only 10% or so of the population was able to read [Ancient Literacy; Harvard University Press, 1989]. By far the highest portion of readers was located in urban settings. Widespread literacy like that enjoyed throughout modern societies requires certain cultural and historical forces to enact policies of near universal, or at least extensive, education of the masses. Prior to the industrial revolution, such a thing was neither imagined nor desired. As Meir Bar Ilan notes: “literacy does not emerge in a vacuum but rather from social and historical circumstances.” Moreover, far fewer people in antiquity [...]

2021-01-20T01:06:19-05:00August 6th, 2012|Book Discussions, Catholic Epistles|

Ancient Secretaries (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my previous post on secretaries in the ancient world, drawn from my forthcoming book Forgery and Counterforgery. In the earlier post I talked about the use of secretaries in taking dictation and doing light copy-editing, based on the findings of the full study of Randall Richards. The discussion is relevant to the writings of the New Testament: could 1 Peter, or Ephesians, or any of the other pseudepigraphical writings of the new testament have been produced by secretaries rather than their reputed authors? ****************************** It is Richards‘ third and fourth categories that are particularly germane to the questions of early Christian forgery. What is the evidence that secretaries were widely used, or used at all, as co-authors of letters or as Ersatz composers? If there is any evidence that secretaries sometimes joined an author in creating a letter, Richards has failed to find or produce it. The one example he considers involves the relationship of Cicero and Tiro, cited earlier by Gordon Bahr as evidence for co-authorship. In Bahr’s words [...]

Ancient Secretaries (Part 1)

I have received some comments and emails about my claims about Silvanus as a secretary (or rather, NOT as a secretary) for the book of 1 Peter, and realized it would help if I could give some more detail about what we know about secretaries in the ancient world. The following is from an excursus in my forthcoming Forgery and Counterforgery; it will come in two parts, the first today and the second, hopefully, tomorrow. If you've read my book Forged, the substance of what follows will be familiar; this is the slightly more whomped up version of what I discuss there. ************************************************************************************************************************ Now that we have explored six of the Deutero-Pauline epistles, we are in a position to consider the hypothesis widely invoked by advocates of authenticity to explain how a letter allegedly by an author should differ so radically from other writings he produced. The notion that early Christian authors used secretaries who altered the writing style and contributed to the contents of a writing– thereby creating the anomalies that arouse the critics‘ [...]

Always Looking for MORE!!

Dear Devotees of the CIA :-),       From where I sit, this blog is going very well.  On average about two new members join a day.  That may not seem like much, but at $24.95, a pop, over time, it adds up to some serious money for charities dealing with hunger and homelessness -- which is what is driving my efforts in the first place.   But as I've indicated before, and will indicate yet again, time and time and time again, I want to do more and would like to see us be even more successful.  Far more successful!       I would like your help.  I would like those of you who enjoy the blog to become shamelessly evangelistic for it, and try to get others to join.   Those who join will get a lot of bang for their buck, and all proceeds go to charity.  I have nothing else at stake in the whole affair: I certainly have other things I could be doing with my time (like, right now, watching the Olympics!) (OK, I've [...]

2012-08-02T15:49:05-04:00August 2nd, 2012|Public Forum|

Forgery. Another Deceived Deceiver (Part 2)

HERE'S THE SECOND HALF OF WHAT I STARTED TO POST YESTERDAY: THE IRONIES OF THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS (A FOURTH CENTURY BOOK CLAIMING TO BE WRITTEN BY THE APOSTLES THREE HUNDRED YEARS EARLIER ); DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE GREEK -- IT MAKES SENSE WITHOUT READING IT. MY POINT IN THIS BIT IS THE IRONY OF IT ALL. The alleged authors – the apostles of Christ, including Paul and James -- claim that the books of the New Testament were theirs: ἡμέτερα δέ, τοῦτ’ ἔστι τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης (8.47.85). And so the author gives a list of which books those are, a list that includes all of the books that eventually became the New Testament, with the exception of the book of Revelation. Strikingly, after listing the Gospels and the letters of Paul, James, John, Jude, and Peter, the author indicates that the New Testament is also to include the two letters of Clement and, to cap it all off, the Apostolic Constitutions themselves. The list ends with “our Acts of the Apostles” αἱ Πράψεις ἡμῶν τῶν [...]

Go to Top