mc2499 at mclink.it
Fri Jan 8 23:55:04 EST 1999
At 16.55 08/01/99 EST, Sheila Shiki y Michaels wrote:
>I've heard of no evidence of scribes in nomadic societies in the ANE.
Hopefully what you have heard about is evidence of scribes in urban
societies in the ANE, how scribes belonged to schools and outside those
schools there was no evidence of any writing. This is not strange:
>We also have little way of knowing how much of a person's time scribal work
>consumed, as the scribes wrote very little about themselves. Autobiography
>was hardly invited.
You might read what Ben Sira has to say about the matter of what is
necessary inorder to follow a scribal career.
>Nearly everyone had access to enough heat to bake a tablet, but why would
>they need it? What they needed was clay wet enough to write in when
>necessary, or, more usually, access to bees, for the wax on which they usually
>wrote. As apiculture was the first stage of husbandry in almost all societies
>of which we are aware, access to wax was not to be monopolized.
When tablets have been found in ANE situations they have almost always been
from court records. This may of course be only a big coincidence, but then
when tablets have been found in kilns they have been connected to courts.
This too may be only a coincidence, but we usually can only deal with what
we have evidence for.
One would have to argue that, in a period when literacy would have been
exceptionally low, nomadic societies, which had to supply all their own
needs and allowed no stability to maintain scribal schools, could both i)
allow members of the society the resources and time to learn and maintain
scribal activities, and ii) transport the relatively heavy tablet-based
literary tradition wherever they went. I can see no parallels of such a
situation in the nomadic peoples illustrated at any time in history. Do you
know of many literate nomadic societies?
><< Scribal abilities was an intensive profession in the ancient near east,
>one that in itself was not easily productive but which occupied most of the
>time of the scribe, requiring access to a kiln and the materials for making
>writing tablets. One had to
> learn one's art, which took time and a nomadic society in those times did
> not provide the context either to supply the training nor to fund the
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