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Did the Apostles Use Secretaries to Write their Books?

Here is the third (and last) post on the use of secretaries in the ancient world, in which I discuss the issue of whether illiterate people (like Simon Peter, or John the son of Zebedee) could have had someone else write their books for them – so that 1 Peter *could* in some sense actually be by Peter even if he couldn’t write, or the Revelation of John be by John. In it I continue to consider ways ancient authors used secretaries.  Was it actually to have them compose writings for them?  (To make best sense of this it would help to read the previous post, where I talk about two of the main ways ancient writers used secretaries.  But hey, you don't *have* to read it.  It ain't required!) Again, the discussion is taken from my book Forgery and Counterforgery (Oxford University Press). ****************************** 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, [...]

2022-08-22T12:21:09-04:00September 4th, 2022|Forgery in Antiquity, Greco-Roman Religions and Culture|

Did Ancient Writers Use Secretaries?

In my previous post I tried to show that the disciples of Jesus were almost certainly not literate.  Yet we have books allegedly written by them.  Is it possible that people like Peter, John, James, and Jude used a secretary to write their books for them?  So that the apostles in the ultimate sense were the "author" but someone else composed the writing for them? To answer the question with something other than common sense (that is, common guessing), we need to know about secretarial practices in antiquity.  As it turns out, we do know some things, as I'll explain in this post and the next. Again, this is taken, in slightly edited form, from my book Forgery and Counterforgery, which goes into a great bit of detail about what we know about writing practices in the ancient world. ****************************** The notion that early Christian authors used secretaries .... is so widespread as to be virtually ubiquitous. There is no need here to cite references; one need only consult the commentaries, not only on the [...]

2022-08-22T15:11:33-04:00September 1st, 2022|Catholic Epistles, Forgery in Antiquity|

Did Ancient Secretaries Actually Compose Writings? A Blast from the Past

Here is the third (and last) post on the use of secretaries in the ancient world, in which I discuss the issue of whether illiterate people (like Simon Peter, or John the son of Zebedee) could have had someone else write their books for them – so that 1 Peter *could* in some sense actually be by Peter if he couldn’t write, or the Revelation of John be by John.  These three posts are all blasts from the past, reruns from exactly four years ago on the blog.  Here is what I said back then about secretaries. ********************************************************************************** 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 [...]

How Did Ancient Writers Use Secretaries? A Blast from the Past

Here is the second of a series of three blasts from the past -- from four years ago when I was dealing with how secretaries were and, especially, were not used in the ancient world by authors when producing their work.  Did authors (such as John for the book of Revelation, or Peter for either 1 or 2 Peter) use a secretary to write their books for them?  To answer the question with something other than common sense (that is, common guessing), we need to know about secretarial practices in antiquity.  As it turns out, we do know some things, as I'll explain in this post and the next. This is what I said four years ago now: ****************************************************************************** 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 [...]

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