In an excerpt from a forthcoming popular science book I found this claim:
As Villarreal points out, the word literate originally meant “one who can read holy scripts.”
Really? I went and looked in the OED, and that was no real help, as it just said that it's from "classical Latin litterātus". The American Heritage Dictionary entry online has a usage note, which tells me something interesting in a usage note:
For most of its long history in English, literate has meant only "familiar with literature," or more generally, "well-educated, learned." Only since the late 19th century has it also come to refer to the basic ability to read and write. [...]
but not only does this not mention "holy scripts", it pretty much seems to be a contradiction.
Is the quoted claim completely off-base, or is there an argument to be made for it?
(Note that the article excerpt doesn't explain who "Villareal" is, but I think it's this guy.)