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Re: Falsifiability, was Re: orion dss and rabbis

Gentle Dr Stuhlman--

At least for Hellenic times, I think one can make a strong case that a
large proportion of the Pelloponesian populace had a rudimentary
knowledge of reading and possibly even writing.  [See, for instance,
Boring, T.A. 1979. _Literacy in Ancient Sparta_; Goody, J. 1968.
_Literacy in Traditional Societies_; and more recently, Harris, W. 1989.
_Ancient Literacy_, et al.]  
The Hermitage in Leningrad hosts a remarkable krater from the first half
of the fourth c. bce of a farmer standing next to a scribe working on a
bifold writing tablet--both of whom are faced by a seated woman who also
has a writing tablet on her lap--and seems to be chewing on the stylus,
deep in thought.  In the Amsterdam Museum is a mid-fifth BCE red-figure
cup, possibly by the so-called "Sabouroff Painter," depicting a woman
seated with what appears to be a codex, accompanied by another woman and
a boy.
For areas more to the point of DSS studies, you might want to browse
through Meir Bar-Ilan's splendid short bibliography at 
	< http://www.biu.ac.il/~barilm/bibliter.html >
Certainly at the dawn of writing systems in the Tigris-Euphrates
valleys, only scribes and similar professionals were literate.  [See,
for instance, Denise Schmandt-Besserat's notable work on the explosive
development of cuneiform in the mid-4th millenium BCE].  But, later,
it's pretty clear that the monopoly on reading, at least, broke down.


> Library.HTC wrote:
> I am curious as to the level of literacy in times before printing.  Could
> ordinary people  read and write? Or was the written word limited to the
> scribes, businessmen, priests, and other elite?
> Daniel D. Stuhlman
> Hebrew Theological College
> Saul Silber Memorial Library
> 7135 N Carpenter Road
> Skokie, IL  60077
> 847-982-2500
> ssmlhtc@nslsilus.org
> Shana Tovah!


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