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Peter as Literate? Part 2

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY POST FROM YESTERDAY ON WHETHER PETER COULD HAVE WRITTEN 1 PETER, BASED ON THE QUESTION OF HIS POSSIBLE LITERACY. READ THE FIRST POST FIRST, OR THIS ONE WON'T MAKE AS MUCH SENSE! In pursuing this line of inquiry, we might ask what we can know about Peter as a person, prior to his becoming a disciple of Jesus. The answer is that we do not know much at all. The Gospels are consistent only in portraying him as a fisherman from the village of Capernaum in rural Galilee. We can assume that since he was a common laborer, he was not from the landed aristocracy; and since he was from rural Galilee, he would have spoken Aramaic. What can we say about his home “town” of Capernaum? The historical and social insignificance of the place can be seen by the fact that it is not mentioned in any source, including the Hebrew Bible, prior to the writings of the New Testament. In the Gospels it is portrayed as a [...]

2020-04-03T19:28:29-04:00August 7th, 2012|Book Discussions, Catholic Epistles|

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|

Silvanus as Peter’s Secretary?

QUESTION: What do you make of the author's reference to a Silvanus in 1 Peter 5:12? Could it be that this really is Peter saying he used a secretary to write this letter? I know you said there is little to no evidence that people used secretaries, but what do you make of this reference to a Silvanus? RESPONSE: Yes, this is a question that I deal with in my book Forged, and that I deal with at yet greater length in the book coming out in the fall, Forgery and Counterforgery. Several points are important to make about the question, but first a bit of background. FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a Member. Click here for membership options. If you don't belong yet, JOIN!!                 Background.   Scholars have long noted that the book of 1 Peter is written in elegant Greek, and that it seems highly unlikely that an Aramaic-speaking fisherman of the lower classes (which Peter must have been), who is called “unlettered” (literally, “illiterate”) in Acts 4:13, [...]

2020-04-03T19:30:22-04:00July 28th, 2012|Catholic Epistles, Reader’s Questions|
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