Protestant Sola in Europe & America untrue

I was wondering about the spread of Protestant thought when compared to literacy. This thought came to me when I was reading about the snake handling. Is there a correlation with literacy and the spread of Protestant thought? Then I came across this. It appears that Oral Tradtion was responsible for the transmission of thought in Europe and the attempt to apply Sola Scriptura by the Puritans failed.

Due to a lack of literacy skills in sixteenth century Germany, the practical growth of the reformation most certainly can be put down to the real mass dissemination of ideas, which took place orally, and not principally through the printed word.

Communication in The Americas and their Influence - Colonial America

By the time of the revolution there was near universal literacy in the northern colonies. Nevertheless, the importance of the oral tradition cannot be discounted. What was read was discussed and augmented by speeches in taverns, meeting halls, and other public places.

The seventeenth-century Puritans, in contrast, attempted to teach peoples under their purview to read various religious texts translated into the languages of the tribes in question, but the project was eventually abandoned.

So how do Ideas spread…by written or spoken word…it would appear that the spread of Christianity at the time of Christ was spread Orally…since literacy rates were low and there wasn’t much to read…

Thoughts? Comments?

I think its both/and. Certainly, the greater the literacy rate in a culture, the more influence the written word has, and the reverse. One of the reasons for the early Church’s use of statues, stained glass, etc. was to teach the faith to the laity via pictures and other visuals, since literacy rates were so low. It seems to me sad that the iconoclasts of the past and present miss that point.


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