Cover image for Scribal Tools in Ancient Israel: A Study of Biblical Hebrew Terms for Writing Materials and Implements By Philip Zhakevich

Scribal Tools in Ancient Israel

A Study of Biblical Hebrew Terms for Writing Materials and Implements

Philip Zhakevich

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ISBN: 978-1-64602-062-1

228 pages
6" × 9"
21 b&w illustrations
2020

History, Archaeology, and Culture of the Levant

Scribal Tools in Ancient Israel

A Study of Biblical Hebrew Terms for Writing Materials and Implements

Philip Zhakevich

Scribal Tools in Ancient Israel makes a singular, useful contribution that will be consulted and used by scholars for generations to come.”

 

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  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample Chapters
In this book, Philip Zhakevich examines the technology of writing as it existed in the southern Levant during the Iron Age II period, after the alphabetic writing system had fully taken root in the region. Using the Hebrew Bible as its corpus and focusing on a set of Hebrew terms that designated writing surfaces and instruments, this study synthesizes the semantic data of the Bible with the archeological and art-historical evidence for writing in ancient Israel.

The bulk of this work comprises an in-depth lexicographical analysis of Biblical Hebrew terms related to Israel’s writing technology. Employing comparative Semitics, lexical semantics, and archaeology, Zhakevich provides a thorough analysis of the origins of the relevant terms; their use in the biblical text, Ben Sira, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and ancient Hebrew inscriptions; and their translation in the Septuagint and other ancient versions. The final chapter evaluates Israel’s writing practices in light of those of the ancient world, concluding that Israel’s most common form of writing (i.e., writing with ink on ostraca and papyrus) is Egyptian in origin and was introduced into Canaan during the New Kingdom.

Comprehensive and original in its scope, Scribal Tools in Ancient Israel is a landmark contribution to our knowledge of scribes and scribal practices in ancient Israel. Students and scholars interested in language and literacy in the first-millennium Levant in particular will profit from this volume.

Scribal Tools in Ancient Israel makes a singular, useful contribution that will be consulted and used by scholars for generations to come.”

Philip Zhakevich is Lecturer in Hebrew at Princeton University.

List of Figures and Tables

Acknowledgments

List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Papyrus

Chapter 3. Stone and Plaster

Chapter 4. Skins, Scrolls, Tablets, Ostraca, and Uncommon Writing Surfaces

Chapter 5. Scribal Instruments and Glyptics

Chapter 6. Egypt’s Influence on Canaan and Ancient Israel

Chapter 7. Conclusion

Works Cited

Ancient Sources Index

Subject Index

Download a PDF sample chapter here: Introduction