Re: [GTh] Christian Origins
> Peter is reputed to have converted 3000 in one day. As this is theI've often wondered if the ancient literacy rate might not have
> only numerical figure we have on that early Christian population,
> based on a literacy rate of one half a percent .5, that leaves 15 people
> literate. Am I off the mark here?
been much higher than commonly supposed. We English speakers
tend to think reading and writing is very hard because we try to
cram some 40 sounds, give or take, into 26 letters, then try to
spell each of those sounds a half dozen ways each, resulting in
a written language that virtually hieroglyphic in complexity.
Given a language with a smaller number of sounds, and only one
symbol per sound, how hard is it really to get to the point where
you can sound out a sentence, or write something another person
could read and understand? I dare say most any intelligent person
could probably reach that point in a day or two of serious effort.
Now granted that person is not going to be reading or writing a
large number of words per minute, but ...
What if the preference for short sayings in the synoptic Gospels is
not entirely because Jesus always taught that way, as opposed to using
extended discourses, as the Jesus Seminar folk suppose, but because
the earliest church had large numbers of such marginally literate
persons, and so a short saying distilling Jesus' teaching was something
they could profitably read and understand?