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Bart Ehrman on Christian Literacy in the First Century

Several significant studies of literacy have appeared in recent years showing just how low literacy rates were in antiquity. The most frequently cited study is by Columbia professor William Harris in a book titled Ancient Literacy. By thoroughly examining all the surviving evidence, Harris draws the compelling though surprising conclusion that in the very best of times in the ancient world, only about 10 percent of the population could read at all and possibly copy out writing on a page. Far fewer than this, of course, could compose a sentence, let alone a story, let alone an entire book. And who were the people in this 10 percent? They were the upper-class elite who had the time, money, and leisure to afford an education. This is not an apt description of Jesus’s disciples. They were not upper-crust aristocrats.

In Roman Palestine the situation was even bleaker. The most thorough examination of literacy in Palestine is by a professor of Jewish studies at the University of London, Catherine Hezser, who shows that in the days of Jesus probably only 3 percent of Jews in Palestine were literate. Once again, these would be the people who could read and maybe write their names and copy words. Far fewer could compose sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and books. And once again, these would have been the urban elites.

Source: Ehrman, Bart D. (2012-03-20). Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth (Kindle Locations 702-712). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Proper Translation of Genesis 16:12

King James Bible
And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

VS

“… he will be a fruitful man: his hand shall be with everyone, and every man’s hand shall be with him…”

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Elohim is used for others than God

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26

Often Trinitarians use the following verse to show the plurality of the Godhead. However the word Elohim, literally denotes strength. It is made from the root aleph lamed, aleph being the Hebrew for Ox and lamed is Hebrew for shepherds staff. The ox denotes power and the shepherds staff represents ruling or authority. This can be seen clearly in places where Elohim is used for others than God:
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Hebrew Word for Word of Zechariah 12:10

Original  Zec 12:10(KJV)
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

12:10  וְשָׁפַכְתִּי עַל־בֵּית דָּוִיד וְעַל יֹושֵׁב יְרוּשָׁלִַם רוּחַ חֵן וְתַחֲנוּנִים וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־דָּקָרוּ וְסָפְדוּ עָלָיו כְּמִסְפֵּד עַל־הַיָּחִיד וְהָמֵר עָלָיו כְּהָמֵר עַֽל־הַבְּכֹֽור׃

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The difference between Hebrew ‘El’ and English ‘God’

Taken from here.

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