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Seriously. How Many People in Antiquity Could Write?

I have received some push-back from readers who object to my view that Simon Peter, Jesus’ disciple, a fisherman from rural Galilee whose native language was Aramaic, living among lower-class people who spoke Aramaic, almost certainly could not have written a highly stylized and sophisticated Greek treatise such as we find in the book of 1 Peter.   My sense is that I will never convince anyone who thinks that it is simply “common sense” that of course he could learn to write Greek if he wanted to and did so at the end of his life.  But I’m bound and determined to try!  (It used to be “common sense” that the sun revolved around the earth, after all….  Just because it’s something we’ve always heard and thought doesn’t make it true!)

I’ve dealt with literacy issues on the blog before, but I think I need to give a fuller explanation of my views.  The fullest is in my book Forgery and Counterforgery, but I”ve decided not to go there, since it is not really written with a general audience in mind.  But I do have a fuller discussion of the matter in my book Forged, and so I will give my comments from there.  This will take two or three posts.  It’s obviously an important matter, not only for 1 Peter but for lots of the books of the NT (Matthew, Mark, John, James, Jude, the Johannine epistles, etc!)

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Simon Peter, Ancient Palestine, and Literacy

What do we know about literacy and the ability to write in the ancient world, especially in rural Palestine where Simon Peter was born and raised?  Scholars of antiquity have been diligent over the past twenty-five years or so in trying to understand every aspect of ancient literacy and education.  In what is now the classic study, the 1989 book, Ancient Literacy, William Harris, professor of ancient history at Columbia University, showed that modern assumptions about literacy simply are not applicable to ancient times.[1] Today, in modern America, we ….

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Could Peter Have “Written” 1 and 2 Peter Some Other Way?
Who Wrote 1 Peter?

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Comments

  1. JulieGraff  November 27, 2018

    Mr. Ehrman, in order to be correct in the evaluation of languages and the mental structures , I believe we have to be correct in the understanding of the locations, the space, the living areas of the time.

    When you write “in rural Palestine where Simon Peter was born and raised” It makes me jump!!!

    Palestine as I have learned was a name given by the romans later on to the region of the kingdom of Judea and Israel (Samaria) in order to humiliate the jews as palestine is derived from the word philistine, the jews historical enemies.

    Why do you say Peter grew up in Palestine, when he most likely grew up in Judea?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      Yes, historians call the entire region Palestine even though that was not a name given to it later. We could call it the Levant, but that includes other areas. Peter didn’t grow up in Judea. He grew up in Galilee, which was north of Samaria which was north of Judea. We use the (technically inaccurate) term Palestine to refer to the three areas together.

      • JulieGraff  November 28, 2018

        As you said yourself “Just because it’s something we’ve always heard and thought doesn’t make it true!”

        To use the word Palestine is not just a technical error, it has alot of implications, for then and now.

        As a serious historian I do not understand why you do so.

        • JulieGraff  November 28, 2018

          P.S.: I was happy to read that you can understand french as the Rav from which I study the teachings speaks French and Hebrew so I thought I’d share one of his first video available from 10 years ago.

          It’s really a masterly teaching about the word Adam… which gives a much better understanding of the term “Son of Man” in the gospels, Ben Adam as you must know in the hebrew teachings. (after one hour like this one from this Rav you can imagine 90 hours on King David!)

          Btw I heard that the gospel of matthew was written in hebrew, is that correct?

          Here is the link to the video on the Rav’s website (Rav Dynovisz):

          http://ravdynovisz.tv/la-paracha-de-la-semaine/creation_du_monde_1_adam_-_l_homme_qui_ressemble_a_d_berechit_cuvee_2008_29_oct_2008_no_1_p/

        • Bart
          Bart  November 30, 2018

          The region was later called Palestine by the Romans. What term do you prefer for the region at the time (covering Judea, Samaria, and Galilee)?

          • JulieGraff  November 30, 2018

            Thank you for your question Mr. Ehrman, I’m happy to see that you are open for discussions about it.

            For the sake of the discussion, let’s play a bit and imagine that the Mexican in a couple of centuries becomes a worldwide superpower and they are mad about the wall built between them and the United States. They decide to invade the United States and they succeed. In order to humiliate the United States, they decide to now call it Russia. Some centuries later, a faculty of biblical studies in another country talks about a great historian, Bart Ehrman, who grew up in Russia. How accurate does that feel like?

            Since as a historian, your field of expertise is religion, which has a great deal to do with peoples lives and belief systems (we are not talking about minerals here) when talking about different regions at a specific time as a whole, because naming them all would be to much, I would consider those facts more closely: founding fathers, belief systems, shared laws.

            Israël at the time when it was called Israël as a whole, with the 12 tribes was a little bit like the United States now. Very different tribes-areas with their own management. Alternating in providing Judges ruling over the 12 tribes etc but they had the same founding fathers, beliefs systems and shared laws (the Torah).

            After the “civil war” things where different but they still had pretty much the same founding fathers, belief systems and shared laws (the Torah). Ok they had different interpretations of them but hey, so did Hillel and Shammai!

            So speaking of the area at the time as a whole, I would call it the region of Israel.

            Didn’t Jesus allegedly say he came for the lost sheep of Israel. Would that have been just for the people of Samaria?

          • Bart
            Bart  December 2, 2018

            But that would mean that you want to replace one term that was not used at the time to refer to the region by another term that was not used at the time to refer to the region! See the problem? (Also: Israel was not Samaria)

          • dankoh  December 2, 2018

            The problem I have with “Palestine” is that the name was not in use at the time of the NT; the Romans gave it that name after the Bar Kochba revolt, if I recall correctly. (It’s been a long day.) I agree that using Judaea (my preferred spelling), Galilee, and Samaria can get confusing, but at least it’s accurate. I tend to use Judaea by default to speak of the Jewish homeland in the first century CE unless I have some reason to be more specific.

            There is a similar problem, actually, in referring to that area in Scriptural (OT) times. Is it Israel, Judah, Canaan, the Davidic kingdom? And how do we name the area before Saul and David came along? And are the people Israelites (which can be either the people as a whole or just those who lived in the northern kingdom) or Hebrews? I’ve gone back and forth on that one; do you have a preference?

          • Bart
            Bart  December 3, 2018

            I prefer simply calling it Palestine, for lack of a better option. That’s pretty much the scholarly convention. I call teh people before the Persian period Israelites, and after that Jews.

  2. cmdenton47  November 27, 2018

    I have to admit I had never thought of this until you brought it up in the Blog and in “Forged.” I took several years of French and Latin in school and the thought of attempting to compose something in either language just appalls me. After your writing I started paying attention and began noticing that bilingual people I came in contact with would revert to their native language when they needed to get some complex idea across to one another. It’s real, folks.

    • Hormiga  November 28, 2018

      Yes. I’ve made actual money translating Russian into English but have only a rudimentary ability to write Russian at the short, simple sentence level. Kind of the same with Spanish.

  3. plparker  November 27, 2018

    Isn’t it also the case that someone wishing to write original text would have to be trained in rhetoric– in persuasive writing & speaking? I’m thinking in particular of Paul and Augustine, both of whom seemed to be trained rhetoricians in addition to their other skills.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      Yes, it wasn’t just a matter of being smart; it was a matter of being trained, which took many years, and always started in childhood.

  4. erudite  November 27, 2018

    So that brings up the million dollar question : could Christ read and/or write?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      Nothing indicates he could write. There are debates about whether he could read. He is said to do so only one time in the NT (Luke 4)

  5. Hon Wai  November 27, 2018

    “I can read Greek, Hebrew, French, German, and well, a range of other languages. But if you ask me to compose a letter in any of these languages, forget it! ”
    That’s odd. Why is it so hard for you to write a letter in French when you have knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar? You can think out in your mind what you want to write in English, then mentally translate the English sentences into French.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      It doesn’t work like that, I’m afraid. If it did, I would be fluent verbally. Alas, I am not. (I have funny stories about trying to do that in Paris!)

      • Hon Wai  November 28, 2018

        I bet your funny story in Paris, won’t beat the story you told about visiting Poland once and trying to speak Polish while there: The first night you went to a hotel and told the young woman behind the desk (as you realized later), something like – “Hello. I am America. I am here to sleep with you tonight.”

      • lothanto  November 28, 2018

        I’m French and learned English at school and then mostly as an autodidact, when I was a young adult. Most of the books I read are in English and I read them as fast as I would read ones in French. But even with the modern tools and online ressources, it took a long time to get to that level, and writing in English is clearly much more difficult, it’s a different skill (had I written this comment in French, it would have taken me much less time :-). Voilà… Hope you enjoyed Paris 🙂

    • Hormiga  November 28, 2018

      Translation is not symmetrical: French -> English is not at all the same thing as English -> French.

      • lothanto  November 30, 2018

        Translating from your native language to a foreign language is much more difficult than doing it the other way round.

        • Alemin
          Alemin  December 4, 2018

          I mostly agree, although if I have to translate on the fly for someone, I’d rather translate English into a foreign language, than the foreign language into English. The reason is that the English sentence sticks in my head and takes no work to understand, and I can then hold it in working memory while constructing a sentence in the foreign language. I find it much harder the other way around.

    • dankoh  December 2, 2018

      I was trained by the Foreign Service Institute to read and speak professional French. But if I wanted to write something in French for release, a native French speaker from the staff would always be assigned to do that. There are too many nuances and subtleties in the way a language is written that are almost impossible to learn unless you start as a child. And even though French and English (for example) are reasonably close in some ways, I can assure you that the way people think in each language is very different!

      (Yes, I can write a simple letter in French, and in a few other languages. But we’re talking about theological documents here.)

  6. Leovigild  November 27, 2018

    I know this full well personally. I can read Greek, Hebrew, French, German, and well, a range of other languages. But if you ask me to compose a letter in any of these languages, forget it! I learned how to read all of them in graduate school so I could read ancient documents in their original languages and modern scholarship in the languages of Europe. But I never learned how to write them.

    Isn’t this in part a function of not having conversational knowledge of these ancient languages? This is actually the topic of the latest post on LanguageLog. But if you can speak a language fluently, and also read that language (knowledge of the alphabet), you ought to be able to write.

    I’m not disputing your overall conclusion at all, but I am unaware of any specific examples of a person (ancient or modern) who could speak and read a language, but not write it (albeit perhaps in an non-standard way).

    You might also mention that the level of literacy was highly dependent on context. The Roman military seems to have relied heavily on written records and reports, and the Vindolanda tablets suggest a fairly high standard of literacy, at least among officers.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      Yes, that’s part of it. But being able to speak a language conversationally does not translate into the ability to write correctly, let alone well. Trust me. I’ve been teaching very smart undergraduates for 35 years!

      • Leovigild  November 28, 2018

        True, but that’s very different from the claim that one would not be able to write any kind of sentence at all.

        • Bart
          Bart  November 30, 2018

          If we were talking about one sentence, it would be a different matter. 1 Peter is a rhetorically effective essay written by someone familiar with Greek literary tropes.

      • godspell  November 28, 2018

        Anybody with internet access should know that. 😉

    • Kirktrumb59  November 28, 2018

      “Writing,” while clearly a function of a more general “language network,” has multiple times been demonstrated (disease/lesion analysis, fMRI, PET scanning, etc.) dissociable from reading and from spoken language. It’s possible to be dysgraphic/agraphic (LOSS of ability to write) without being alexic (LOSS of ability to read). Indeed, reading comprehension is dissociable from reading aloud. The ability to express language in written form is separate, as far as the brain is concerned, from reading comprehension (or speaking). What Dr. E describes is not at all uncommon.

    • talmoore
      talmoore  November 28, 2018

      I studied literacy in grad school for my masters in education. Not to get too technical — just short and simple — I can say that speaking, reading and writing are three very different things. For starters, speaking comes naturally. That’s why we start speaking, without formal education, at a very young age. It’s instinctual in all mentally healthy human beings. As we age, however, it because harder for us to learn new languages.

      Reading, on the other hand, does not come naturally to human beings, because it’s not something that we were evolved to do. That’s why, while we can start speaking as young as one year old, it’s very difficult for the average person to start reading before the age of 4. Reading involves the recognition of symbols and the association of those symbols with sounds, and the connection of those sounds to language. That’s a lot of steps that need to come together to make reading even possible. Moreover, in order for us to be able to read faster than the speed at which we sound out individual letters we do what’s called chunking, where we step up from recognizing individual letters to recognizing entire graphemes, words and even phrases. That’s why you can read a familiar sentence relatively fast, but when you come to a word you’ve never seen before, it’s like hitting a wall. You don’t have that word “chunked” so you have to take it apart like you’re 5 years old again.

      Which leads me to writing, which is even more unnatural for us humans. Where reading involves recognizing letters and words we have already seen, writing involves recovering words for a new composition. This is much harder than just reading because it necessitates actual creativity. Our normal thoughts are often scattered, unconnected, discursive (just look at a transcription of spoken dialogue). When writing, however, we have to construct complete sentences. We have to follow standards of grammar and orthography. In other words, we have to keep a lot of balls in the air. And this is a difficult enough task for a highly educated person. For someone with a poor education — even for someone who can read relatively well — their writing could be full of non-sequiturs, lack focus, be riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, and have the kind of ambiguities and vagaries we expect from someone unpracticed in writing.

  7. Pegill7  November 27, 2018

    Somewhat off the point but many Muslim writers boast of the possibility that Mohammed was illiterate because it proves that his recitations were inspired by Allah (Gabriel) since an uneducated person could not otherwise have voiced such profound ideas in such sophisticated Arabic. Could not the same thing be said of Peter and his use of Greek? Just wondering.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      Yes, if you think it was a miracle then there is no response.

      • godspell  November 28, 2018

        You could respond that we still have no original copies of any Jewish, Christian, or Islamic sacred texts, and I’m guessing no verifiable samples of any famous ancient person’s handwriting.

        So you could believe it was a miracle, and still question whether you have the actual text that person wrote. Unless you’re saying the miracle extends to not allowing anybody to forge anything in the name of God. In which case, Joseph Smith has been viciously maligned by Non-Mormons. And we can verify HIS handwriting. Take a bow, Mormons! 😉

      • doug  November 28, 2018

        And once we open the Pandora’s Box of miracles, we really go down the rabbit hole – anything goes!

  8. Pattylt  November 27, 2018

    I’ve always felt that those that insist that some of the apostles could have written the books attributed to them must either agree that the Gospels are wrong when they called them illiterate or wrong when they insist that they were written by the authors later attributed to them. It’s a matter of where do they want to be wrong! 🤔

  9. mkahn1977  November 27, 2018

    I’m confused by the 10% and 1% numbers you give here- was 10% the “at best” for reading and writing, or just reading? Then what is the 1%?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      10% is the number who could read some and copy letters. 1% is the number that could compose an intelligent paragraph.

  10. fishician  November 27, 2018

    I can also attest to the difference between reading and writing. I tried to learn Russian a few years back and while I could read it OK I never mastered composing sentences beyond the simplest form; certainly not enough to write about abstract subjects. Question: as compared to English, was ancient Greek simpler, or more complex, or about the same?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      Very, very different. Both are very hard.

    • talmoore
      talmoore  November 28, 2018

      To give you a sense of the complexity of ancient Greek, note that just the Greek word for “the” had 30 forms.

      To be more technical, the definite article in ancient Greek had 30 declensions. Singular, dual (nominative and genitive only) and plural; nominative, genitive, dative and accusative; masculine, feminine and neuter. And that’s just for “the”.

  11. godspell  November 27, 2018

    Any person might be born with a special aptitude–or have such a passion for learning that they overcome the odds, acquire the skills. There are examples of this. Autodidacts. It isn’t impossible. But it is rare. All the more when there are so few people around them who have the skills to pass on.

    Is this an argument for Peter? Not in my opinion. We have multiple epistles from Paul, that were preserved (and some that are known not to be from Paul). Why would we have just one from Peter? He was the most prominent person in the new church. He was the chosen successor to Jesus. He’s a major character in all the gospels.

    There are many arguments against the authenticity of 1 and 2 Peter–the authenticity of which seems to have been doubted by many in the early days of the church–but to me the fact that we have only two letters purported to be by him is the real kicker.

    Honestly, I think the reason 1 Peter got into the canon is that they felt like they needed something at least reportedly written by him, and there just wasn’t much to choose from. They picked one. And that’s the main reason people today argue for its legitimacy. It’s upsetting to them that such an important influential person never wrote anything down. Well, he’s not the only one. Try finding anything written by Socrates.

  12. anthonygale  November 27, 2018

    How did someone obtain an education in the ancient world? And how long would it take to develop the skill to write at the level of any of the Biblical books? I ask because I think that is relevant to understand how feasible an apostle writing any of these books might be. In modern times, parents can enrol their kids in the local public school. A middle aged person can enrol in college if they meet requirements and have the money. It takes years to learn to write well, but then again students study multiple subjects at once.

    If Peter wanted to learn to read and write, what would he have had to do? If he converted someone rich or literate, could they have done it for him? Perhaps even taught him themself?

    I ask not to suggest it is likely that Peter learned to write in Greek. To most folks though, the simple notion that a convert paid for a tutor seems simple enough to be feasible. What would that really entail?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      They started as young children and spent years at it. To write at this level would take training into young adulthood. We have no evidence of anyone acquiring these skills in other ways, and not such thing as adult education. The problem is that we think the ancient world was like the modern, where you can buy courses to help you learn Spanish….

    • godspell  November 28, 2018

      If he spent so much time acquiring these skills, why did he use them so rarely that we have hardly anything purported to be written by him (and what we do have is at least as dubious as several letters attributed to Paul that nearly all scholars agree were not written by him)?

      He, unlike Paul, was at the nerve center of the new cult. He moved around a lot less. Why would only one or two letters survive? Obviously some things would be lost (no doubt most of what Paul wrote is gone), but I think he’d be so pleased with himself for having achieved this aptitude, that he’d be writing things all the time.

      The paucity of alleged writings of Peter is in itself an argument for him not writing anything, because he was so vitally important to early Christianity. People would have gone to special pains to preserve anything he produced.

  13. stokerslodge  November 27, 2018

    Just a thought Bart: what if… what if Peter was gifted (by the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost) with the ability to speak and write the Greek language. Can you (with complete confidence and assurance) rule it out?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      If you believe in miracles, then any miracle at all is possible.

    • godspell  November 30, 2018

      Presumably all the followers of Jesus who were there at Pentecost and similarly gained the ability to speak in various tongues, would also have miraculously learned to read and write, and we don’t have anything from them, do we now?

      Is there any reason to make a special case for 1 Peter, other than the fact that much much later, it was included in the New Testament? And therefore, its being inaccurately attributed to him undermines the inerrancy of scripture?

      Hate to tell you, but several of Paul’s letters have been definitively been shown not to be written by him, even though he clearly could read and write extremely well. (Paul was, in point of fact, a great writer.)

    • Alemin
      Alemin  December 4, 2018

      What if the holy spirit didn’t gift Peter with Greek at all, but He causes us to see sophisticated Greek whenever we look at manuscripts of 1 Peter, while the real Peter simply scratched a few incoherent Aramaic letters on some scrap parchment? It’s just as possible….

  14. epicurus
    epicurus  November 27, 2018

    I’m like that with some German I learned for travel vacation purposes- I can recognize words when read or heard, and I can speak them to ask a question. But there’s no way I could write anything and have a hope of anyone understanding.

  15. Matt2239  November 27, 2018

    “highly exceptional” — that term for the ancient literate also describes Jesus and his disciples, modestly. Scholars can never overcome the uniqueness of Jesus of Nazareth. About 2,000 years after his crucifixion, there are 6 billions Bibles that detail his life, one billion people who call themselves followers of Jesus, and even more who embrace his philosophy. As for impact, he’s right up there with Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and John Lennon. If you said Jesus walked on water, the shear volume of evidence for the power of his life and teachings would argue in favor of it.

    We don’t know what Jesus was doing between age 12 and 30. We only know that the literate people in the temple marveled at Jesus’s intellect and that Jesus continued to grow in his knowledge. Then later, we see Jesus writing in the ground during the “cast the first stone” parable. As Ehrman says above, writing is a bigger deal than reading, and reading was a very exceptional skill in 33 a.d. And it was this ancient person who knew all the Hebrew laws and could write who chose Peter to be the rock on which he would build his church. Does an illiterate peasant sound like the logical choice?

    I’d bet Jesus was looking for followers one day when someone said to go talk to Peter, “he speaks and writes Greek but the priests are jealous and won’t teach him Hebrew. Now he catches fish for his brother. He hates those arrogant fools in the temple even more than you do.”

    • AstaKask  November 28, 2018

      Acts 4:13 say that Peter and John were unschooled ordinary men. Not someone who can speak and write Greek.

    • flcombs  November 29, 2018

      “We only know that …” How do we know??? Aren’t you assuming some things that others don’t, so “WE” don’t really know. Isn’t the historical point trying to figure out who wrote what and how likely they are true instead of just assuming they are as claimed? As to popularity, I don’t see how that proves the stories true. After all, Muhammad and Islam have almost 2 billion followers. You don’t usually hear Christians talking about how “highly exceptional” Muhammad was or that the Quran is true because, well, it says so. There were many claimed eye witnesses to Muhammad and his stories, so clearly he must be believed and accepted as a true prophet of God (and of course that Jesus can’t be as Christians claim because God revealed the real truth to Muhammad).

      I’m not attacking anyone’s beliefs: they are welcome to them. But the logic of just taking something for what it says to be true should equally apply to other religions as well for consistency. Since doing so causes many conflicts, there is no reason that taking that approach should result in believing in any god in particular or perhaps just accept all of them as real like the old days.

      • godspell  November 30, 2018

        Very well argued, but it’s a difficult argument for some people of faith to accept. Because once you start looking too closely at the tenets of any given belief system (I don’t just mean theistic beliefs), it’s a bit like pulling threads on a garment. There’s a danger of the whole thing falling apart at the seams.

        And my answer to that is Jesus’ answer–blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe. Because faith is not about proof. Faith that needs unimpeachable evidence to be held to, isn’t faith at all. There is, to me, undeniable truth in the gospels and related documents, as there is in the Old Testament, and (though I haven’t read it yet) in the Koran, and the Mahabarata, and many other ancient religious texts. There is also much I don’t believe.

        Truth and fact aren’t the same thing, and we can revere these texts without taking them literally. We need to look at them a bit more critically, but we should never abandon them. They’ve gotten us this far, and we’ve a long ways yet to go. (I pray.)

        1
        2
  16. RonaldTaska  November 27, 2018

    It would have been so helpful if Jesus had just written His own Gospel. That would have made a lot of things much clearer. Hmm? I wonder why He didn’t?

    • HenriettePeterson  December 3, 2018

      If He did the consequences of scribal modifications (both intentional and unintentional) would’ve been far more disastrous. Even what they did to Paul and its consequences are horrifying IMHO.

  17. NancyGKnapp  November 27, 2018

    My mother was born in 1901 in rural USA and said her father read to them as cbildren. Recently I saw on Ancestry.com a federal census document for him where he answered “yes” to Can. You read? and “no” to Can you wrire? Also my father born in 1884 studied the 3 R’s – Reading and writing (taught separately) and arithmetic in a one-room country elementary school. This would have been been just before the industrial revolution.

    • Bart
      Bart  November 28, 2018

      I believe the industrial revolution is generally thought to have begun a bit more than a century before that.

  18. mikewhitenton  November 27, 2018

    Thanks for addressing this, Bart. Yours is a very underestimated point—even amongst scholars, in my experience. And Cribiore’s book is excellent.

  19. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  November 27, 2018

    Even though I teach writing to children, I’ve taught and tutored adults here and there as well. Writing is a difficult skill to master even for the highly educated. God knows I can get tangled up with my own writing! If Peter had taught himself to write, I can’t imagine it being very coherent. Most of us write sentences without thinking too much about them, but they do have structure and many people struggle with creating just a few well-written sentences, much less a letter like 1 Peter.

    1 Peter comes across to me (in English anyway) as being written by someone who had been writing for many years. It also lacks specific or intimate details to Peter’s life; it’s kind of generalized or vague. It has a mimicky tone to it.

  20. caesar  November 28, 2018

    I’ve listened to debates with you and others about whether someone like Peter would have used a secretary. If I remember, you usually say that that wasn’t practiced regularly, and they will come up with a counter example. I just can’t remember what counter examples they used. Is there one you can think of, and why that doesn’t improve th case?

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