A team of Israeli researchers has found evidence that literacy was widespread among ancient Israelites, thus challenging critics of the Bible who claim most people in Old Testament times were illiterate. Critics of the Bible have long alleged that Israelites prior to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. were largely illiterate. Therefore, they argue, many of the Old Testament books were written after the destruction of Jerusalem, which is much later than the Bible suggests.

“The epigraphic evidence simply does not support the contention that the average pastoralist or agriculturalist in Israelite society was literate,” wrote Chris Rollston in his book “Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Epigraphic Evidence from the Iron Age.” “This is a marvelous romantic notion, but I simply do not find credible evidence of widespread literacy of the non-elite masses.” READ MORE