How Many People Were Literate in Antiquity?
Over the past month I have received a number of questions on the blog about whether it was possible that some of the apostles used "secretaries" to write their books -- so that when 1 or 2 Peter, say, claims to be written by Peter, it actually was written by Peter in a sense. Peter told a secretary what to write and the secretary (e.g., Silvanus? 1 Peter 5:12) actually put pen to papyrus. But the thoughts and ideas were all Peter's. It's an important question, and I've dealt with it a good bit over the years. I actually did a short thread on it over six years ago now here on the blog. I've decided to return to the issue. This will take three posts. The first is on what levels of literacy back at the time of the New Testament: how many people cold read and how many write (which is not the same thing in antiquity!); and apart from who could write, who could compose a writing? Here is what I said about [...]