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The Literacy Issue

12 Apr

We do not know if you have already heard about this study or not, we found 2 articles alone on Yahoo about it but it is another desperate attempt to support a bad theory. A Majority of scholars and archaeologists do not believe the ancient world was literate even though handwritten manuscripts and other writings have been discovered going back to the time of the first civilizations.

These scholars need the Hebrew people to be illiterate just so they can support their ‘when the Bible was written’ theories.

Scholars debate whether the first major phase of compilation of biblical texts took place before or after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. Proliferation of literacy is considered a precondition for the creation of such texts.(http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/04/05/1522200113.full)

But if one looks at all the ancient examples of inscribed and written work, then add in God’s instructions to write things down, to become educated and so on these off the mark theories by those scholars look ridiculous.

By using novel image processing and machine learning algorithms we deduce the presence of at least six authors in this corpus. This indicates a high degree of literacy in the Judahite administrative apparatus and provides a possible stage setting for compilation of biblical texts.(Ibid)

Considering that there were hundreds of thousands of Israelites living in the Promised Land at the time, 6 people do not support that claim. What these examples tell us is what we already know. That literacy was  not a monopoly of the elite nor found in scribal schools only.

Extrapolating the minimum of six authors in 16 Arad ostraca to the entire Arad corpus, to the whole military system in the southern Judahite frontier, to military posts in other sectors of the kingdom, to central administration towns such as Lachish, and to the capital, Jerusalem, a significant number of literate individuals can be assumed to have lived in Judah ca. 600 BCE.

While this discovery helps to support the idea of ancient literacy it just doe snot go far enough as the evidence is easily distorted in order to fit the scholar’s theory that the Bible was written no earlier than the 7th century BC. The main problem of this study is that it doesn’t prove that literacy did not exist even earlier, like in Joshua’s, Moses’, Abraham’s and Noah’s time thus their ‘the Bible was written until the 7th century BC’ theory is still without definitive proof

This study can only show that many scholars and archaeologists were and are wrong about the ability to read and write in the ancient world.It also demonstrates their willingness to misuse information for their own purposes.

Thankfully we are not alone in our fight for literacy in the ancient world. There are scholars and archaeologists out there who disagree with the authors of that study:

A high level of literacy would support the idea that some biblical texts had already been authored by this time. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest known collection of certain biblical texts, are believed to date several centuries later.

Shmuel Ahituv, an Israeli bible scholar who did not participate in the study, also believes literacy in ancient Judah was widespread before 586 BC and that the biblical texts in question were written before the siege of Jerusalem. He said he believes this is apparent through a literary analysis of the biblical texts alone.

“I don’t need algorithms,” Ahituv chuckled. (https://us.yahoo.com/news/handwriting-study-finds-clues-biblical-texts-written-114553436.html)

We know that the ancient world was literate and that the earlier writing of biblical books took place. The evidence supports that as many archaeologists and scholars have shown that certain names of cities etc., were not known in the 7th to 5th centuries BC and could not be used when those supposed writers of the Bible were said to have composed the Bible.

There are details that algorithms cannot use to make their determinations. They can only focus on what they are programmed to analyze and while 6 people may have written on those ostraca the algorithms cannot speak to anything else especially when literacy took place and when the Bible was written. Studying handwriting cannot pinpoint when someone learned to read or write or when they authored any work.

By pointing to such a limited study as evidence for one’s alternative theory means that they have nothing credible to work with in supporting their ideas. They are grasping at straws.The only reason they construct and promote these alternative ideas about when the Bible was written is because they have rejected the truth about the Bible and sought their own ideas in order to support their unbelief.

Israeli mathematicians and archaeologists say they have found evidence to suggest that key biblical texts may have been composed earlier than what some scholars think. (Ibid)

Case in point. The ostraca studied have nothing to do with the Bible or when it was written and to assume that they hold keys to when the Bible was written is just ridiculous.There is nothing linking those ostraca to the Bible or its human writers. As we said, all those writings do is support the idea that the ancient world was literate and not as Dr. Dever and others have suggested that literacy was only for the elite.

The people involved in that study read too much into their study and the limited amount of evidence they used. We have talked about evidence in the past and how it is vulnerable to the beliefs of those studying the evidence. If only 6 people wrote those ostraca then we can say that only 6 people were literate, we can say that those ostraca point to all of society being literate or we can say that the military were trained in reading and writing

The evidence is vulnerable. We will take the evidence to support the idea that the ancient world was more literate than what most scholars and archaeologists claim, simply because we have myriads of other pieces of evidence telling us that fact. We do not rely upon 6 examples only. As to proving when the Bible was written, well those scholars and archaeologists have a long ways to go in providing real evidence for their theories. These 6 examples do not even come close to showing when the Bible was written.

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Posted by on April 12, 2016 in academics, archaeology, Bible, church, education, faith, General Life, leadership, science, theology

 

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