Western societies are largely literary, while all societies in the past and many in the present, are largely oral. What is the difference?
The Near East in the late Bronze Age (3300 to 1200 BC) was composed of verbal, as opposed to literary, societies. Very few people could read or write and those who could were highly paid for their services. Communication, therefore, was predominately person to person without the intermediaries of books, recordings, and other media so prevalent today.