Review of scribal education in ancient Israel: The Old Hebrew epigraphic evidence by Christopher Rollston
AbstractIn this illustrative and thorough article, Christopher Rollston argues for the existence of, in R’s words, “a formal, standardized scribal education” in Ancient Israel (47). R bases his argument on a systematic analysis of the epigraphic evidence of Old Hebrew (i.e. Iron Age II Hebrew, ca. 1000-550 ce) and offers the following as his supporting arguments: (i) In terms of the ductus, the stance, and the relative spatial relationship of graphs, the Old Hebrew (OH) script: (a) displays synchronic consistency, (b) demonstrates discernable, diachronic development, and (c) differs markedly from those of nearby polities (Phoenicia, Arameans); (ii) In terms of orthography, the OH script exhibits synchronic (and arguably regional) consistency with distinctive features that were in opposition with the features of the Phoenician and Aramaic national scripts; and (iii) In terms of content, hieratic numerals (which derive from a complex number system originally borrowed from Egypt) were inscribed on many OH documents, suggesting that an administrative or governing body routinized their usage (and practical dissemination) throughout Iron Age Israel
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