What Do We Know About Books, Reading, and Writing; Literacy In Early Christianity?

Rome was a complex society. Levels of literacy were fluid because of the conditions of the day being as culturally and ethnically diverse as it was. The Roman Empire from the first century to the fourth century was as culturally and ethnically diverse as New York City and its five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. "Jesus was born in such a literate, well-documented period." - Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable? (2003, 20).

Papyrus 52 (P52): The “Ambiguity and Uncertainty” of Modern-Day Evangelical Bible Scholars Redating Early Papyri

What has happened to our modern-day evangelical Bible scholars? Daniel B. Wallace wrote, "The new generation of evangelical scholars is far more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty than previous generations." This is pessimistic, not optimistic. It has a tone of excitement about telling the Christian readers that they cannot really have confidence in anything textual scholars do, i.e., cannot have confidence in the trustworthiness of their New Testament.

HOW ACCURATE WAS/IS THE 1881 WESTCOTT AND HORT GREEK NEW TESTAMENT?

Textual scholars pretty much mocked Westcott and Hort (WH) believing that they were overzealousness, seeing it as bias too, at least until the 1950s. WH released their critical text in 1881, Hort said that Vaticanus preserved “not only a very ancient text but a very pure line of a very ancient text.” (Westcott and Hort 1882, 251) Later scholars argued that Vaticanus was a scholarly recension: a critical revision or edited text. However, ...

COULD THE APOSTLE PETER AND JOHN READ AND WRITE: The Literacy Level of the Apostle Peter and John

Rome was a complex society. Levels of literacy were fluid because of the conditions of the day being as culturally and ethnically diverse as it was. The Roman Empire from the first century to the fourth century was as culturally and ethnically diverse as New York City and its five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. A person’s literacy level to carry out different job functions and skills for daily living and employment would not be the same in Nazareth as would have been the case in Rome. The need or desire for literacy would not be as important in Nazareth as it would have been in Rome. As we will see, the need or desire for literacy was likely ...

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