By Philip R. Davies
Scribes and Schools is an exam of the approaches which ended in the canonization of the Hebrew Bible. Philip Davies sheds gentle at the social purposes for the improvement of the canon and in so doing offers a transparent photograph of the way the Bible got here into being.
Volumes within the Library of old Israel draw on a number of disciplines--such as archaeology, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and literary criticism--to light up the typical realities and social subtleties those old cultures skilled. This sequence employs subtle tools leading to unique contributions that depict the truth of the folks at the back of the Hebrew Bible and translates those insights for a large choice of readers.
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Extra info for Scribes and schools: the canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures
An example of this may be the "Creation Epic" (Enuma Elish) used in the annual New Year festival in Babylon. This annual occasion may have ensured the survival of the poem, though it is not absolutely clear that the text was originally composed for this or any other festival. 5. The use of a text as a model for learning or copying in scribal schools will canonize it. Creating and developing a "syllabus" is an important canonizing process in itself. The criteria for selection of texts for this purpose can be varied: aesthetic excellence, clarity of form, linguistic peculiarities, or, of course, canonical status already achieved by some other criteria.
But they became much more than mere clerks. 4 The Scribal Class Writing was first used to record economic transactions: receipts, letters, or records, and had little or no use beyond this. The scribes were thus a class employed by the rulers, but not themselves rulers, and they lived mostly in administrative centers (in Egypt, a larger and more bureaucratic state, scribes were more dispersed). They were sustained from the revenues of palace or temple. Priests and rulers themselves were not necessarily able to write, and peasants certainly had not the time, the opportunity, or the need to write; possibly a few could inscribe their own name to identify property.
It is virtually certain that only a mere fraction of Akkadian literature is extant, and so we cannot claim anything like an adequate picture of what might have been regarded in this tradition as the "classic" texts. But a canonizing process is evident enough. Although the majority of the recovered libraries date from the first millennium, many of them contain copies of much older compositions. What is more, in many cases (but not all) the various copies exhibit virtually the same textual form, suggesting that some texts, at some time, and perhaps in some places, were standardized.
Scribes and schools: the canonization of the Hebrew Scriptures by Philip R. Davies