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Download How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient by William M. Schniedewind PDF

By William M. Schniedewind

How the Bible turned a publication combines contemporary archaeological discoveries within the heart East with insights culled from the historical past of writing to handle how the Bible used to be written and developed into sacred Scripture. Written for common readers in addition to students, the e-book offers wealthy perception into how those texts got here to own the authority of Scripture and explores why historical Israel, an oral tradition, started to write down literature. It describes an rising literate society in historic Israel that demanding situations the statement that literacy first arose in Greece through the 5th century BCE. Hb ISBN (2004) 0-521-82946-1

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Extra resources for How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel

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Writing down a name could capture this human essence. This was part of the idea behind the Egyptian Execration texts. Writing could have a ritual power even when humans wrote names down in a list. Just as in some cultures making an image or a picture could capture the subject’s essence (and then be magically manipulated), so in the ancient Near East (including Israel) writing down a name could be a ritual act used to manipulate a person’s fate. As a result, taking a census – that is, the registering of names in a list – dabbled in the divine.

This chapter sketches out some of the important aspects of the development of writing both in the Near East more generally and in Israel specifically. In antiquity, writing was both complex and expensive. Writing was not a mundane activity. It required institutional support. Writing was primarily an activity of the state. The invention of the alphabet was one of the critical developments leading to the spread of writing outside state-supported institutions. , and this did not immediately result in a surge in literacy throughout the ancient world.

The famous library of Assurbanipal (ca. 5 For the most part, however, writing served an administrative and bureaucratic role. Writing preserved the records of the court and the temple; its primary role was not to preserve the cultural heritage of antiquity. Writing was also a display of royal power. Writing adorned major public monuments, even though no one could read the writing. For this reason, public monuments displaying cuneiform also included symbolic art that communicated the content of the writing to the masses.

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