writing

Spread from southern Mesopotamia to Egypt in the 3rd millennium BCE in the form of cuneiform (wedge-shaped) signs; this was largely replaced by an alphabetical system in Palestine early in the 2nd millennium BCE, based on consonants (vowels borrowed from the Phoenicians were added by the Greeks at some time before the 8th cent. BCE). Inscriptions, to be permanent, were incised in stone, as (it is recorded) on the tables of the Law brought by Moses from Sinai (Exod. 31:18). But a prayer scroll (pre-exilic) has been discovered in Jerusalem, and one of the Qumran scrolls has the writing on sheets of copper. For everyday use leather and papyrus were available as writing material, and both took ink made from soot and applied with a brush or pen.
The OT records exchanges of written communications. Letters were frequently sent and received at the royal courts of Israel and Judah, from David's time (2 Sam. 11:14) and in the reign of Hezekiah (2 Chron. 30:1), and also to and from the Persian court (Ezra 4:7).
It was fairly common for people in Israel to be able to read—even for children (Isa. 10:19), but when Baruch wrote down the words of Jeremiah, and the king required them to be read to him by an official (Jer. 36:21), it may have been that the king could not himself read. According to the NT, Paul also dictated letters (Rom. 16:22), but it is likely that he could read both Hebrew and Greek. Certainly he signed his letters with his own hand (Col. 4:18). The letters of Paul were read aloud in the Church meetings, and sent on to other Churches (Col. 4:16). When Philemon [[➝ Philemon, Paul's epistle to]] received his private letter, he would have read it aloud, since silent reading was generally unknown in antiquity.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • Writing — is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols (known as a writing system). It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and the recording of language via a non… …   Wikipedia

  • WRITING — (Scripts, Materials, and Inscriptions). SCRIPTS AND MATERIALS General Survey From the end of the third millennium B.C.E., the art of writing was practiced in the ancient Near East (see alphabet ). Here, the pictographic, cuneiform, and… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Writing — Writ ing, n. 1. The act or art of forming letters and characters on paper, wood, stone, or other material, for the purpose of recording the ideas which characters and words express, or of communicating them to others by visible signs. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • writing — ► NOUN 1) the activity or skill of writing. 2) written work. 3) (writings) books or other written works. 4) a sequence of letters or symbols forming coherent words. ● the writing is on the wall Cf. ↑the writing is o …   English terms dictionary

  • writing — index charter (declaration of rights), communication (statement), entry (record), handwriting, instrument (document) …   Law dictionary

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  • writing — (n.) system of human intercommunication by means of conventional visible marks, c.1300, written characters; words, sentences, verbal noun from WRITE (Cf. write) (v.). From late 14c. as action of composing in characters; craft of writing; one s… …   Etymology dictionary

  • writing — [n1] printing on paper autograph, calligraphy, chirography, cuneiform, hand, handwriting, hieroglyphics, longhand, manuscription, print, scrawl, scribble, script, shorthand; concepts 79,284 writing [n2] printed composition article, belleslettres …   New thesaurus

  • writing — [rīt′iŋ] n. 1. the act of a person who writes 2. something written, as a letter or document 3. written form 4. short for HANDWRITING 5. a book, poem, article, or other literary work usually used in pl. 6. the profession or work of a writer …   English World dictionary

  • writing — /ˈvraitin(g), ingl. ˈraɪtɪŋ/ [vc. ingl. propr. «scrittura»] s. m. inv. graffitismo …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • writing — /ruy ting/, n. 1. the act of a person or thing that writes. 2. written form: to commit one s thoughts to writing. 3. that which is written; characters or matter written with a pen or the like: His writing is illegible. 4. such characters or… …   Universalium

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