Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible


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It can be seen that through comparison of the translation technique with evidence of Greek scribal practice in Egypt, and through examination of the role that Greek had for all religious groups there, that the Jewish translators can be placed in a social class within Egypt.

This has implications for how we understand features in the translation and how we understand the place of Jews within Ptolemaic Egypt.

Bio : James Aitken specialises in second temple Judaism and in the Greek and Hebrew languages, and more recently has focused upon the Septuagint. He pays particular attention to the language of the Septuagint and to the evidence offered by inscriptions and papyri as a means of recovering the social history of the text. Aitken, K. Dell, and B.

Book review: Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible – By Karell van der Toorn

The ancient Israelite scribe is thus decontextualized from his original setting. In sum, many questions regarding education in ancient Israel remain unanswered, tantalizing, and crucial to the field as a whole. The role of the family has been a focal point for the study of education in ancient Israel.

Scribes, Schools, and the Formation of Biblical Literature

Some works, such as Demsky , discuss how older generations passed down craft knowledge, domestic abilities, and wisdom within Israelite society according to broad categories. However, the field in general has always focused more narrowly on the nature of scribal education.

Early scholars such as August Klostermann and Fletcher Swift examined biblical texts exclusively for evidence of schooling see Klostermann and Swift Because the biblical witness to education is both scant and equivocal, scholars have turned to epigraphic see especially Lemaire and comparative evidence see Demsky , Carr for schooling in ancient Israel. Treatments of scribal education are also often closely tied to discussions of the transmission of wisdom traditions Crenshaw or the composition of biblical literature e.

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A general outline of the state of the field is provided in Quick Carr, David M. An important study of the process of scribal education as one of enculturation. Carr provides a sweeping and insightful engagement with the scribal traditions of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Israel, and Second Temple Judaism. This work demonstrates how orality and textuality influenced the creation, development, and canonization of the biblical text. Crenshaw, James L. New York: Doubleday, A standard work that provides a helpful summary of previous scholarship on schooling in the Hebrew Bible.

Demsky, Aaron.


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Edited by Fred Skolnik, — This encyclopedia article offers a brief but thorough overview of education throughout the biblical period from a maximalist standpoint. Literacy in Ancient Israel. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, A wide-ranging and exhaustive monograph that addresses the problem of whether or not Israel became a literate society. In Hebrew. Klostermann, August. Schulwesen Im Alten Israel.

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A classic early foray into the question of schooling in ancient Israel. Klostermann focuses on evidence within biblical literature. This study especially relies on Isaiah 28, Isaiah 50, and Proverbs 22 to prove the existence of schools. The role of a father as teacher was also given special attention.

Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible

Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis A classic treatment of the epigraphic evidence for schools in ancient Israel. From the inscriptional record, Lemaire suggests a tentative course for Israelite scribal curriculum and posits a tiered education system centered at Jerusalem with regional and local expressions.

Quick, Laura. DOI: A survey of recent literature that focuses on scribal education. Does not deal with education outside of scribal training. Schniedewind, William M. Schniedewind shows how changes in Israelite society and scribal culture affected the composition of biblical literature.

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Relying especially on archaeology and inscriptions, the monograph traces how the shift to a more literate society impacted religious texts, how these texts were increasingly reverenced, and how they were subsequently considered scripture. Argues for the importance of the state, bureaucracy, and economy for textualization in ancient Israel.


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Swift, Fletcher. Chicago: Open Court,

Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible
Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible

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