Written by Women.???

Liz Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Wed Feb 21 08:44:14 EST 2001

The fact that there is no female scribe mentioned at
Elephantine where the women were *very* liberated,
strongly suggests that they were not literate.
Further the small number of scribal names relative to
the thousands of names we have in the Elephantine
papyri suggests that 99% of the men were not literate either.
This in spite of the fact that we are talking about Aramaic,
a purely phonetic alphabetic language.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Raymond de Hoop [mailto:rdehoop at keyaccess.nl]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2001 5:41 AM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Written by Women.???
> Dave,
> to be exactly, I did not say they could not. I said that the data at hand
> SUGGEST they DID not. The data I refer to, is the fact that especially the
> writing of cuneiform demanded a very intensive education to
> become a writer
> which was a kind of office in that time. Women were not educated for that
> profession because women did not hold public offices. Moreover,
> what we know
> about writing and writers (Mesopotamia, but also Egypt) is that they were
> men; cf. for example the pictures of scribes in ANEP, 71ff; ABD, vol. 5,
> 1012ff).
> The difference between the cuneiform and alphabetic script is that the
> learning of the writing was less difficult. This made it possible that
> knowledge of writing was not restricted to the scribes alone.
> Raymond
> > Van: "Dave Washburn" <dwashbur at nyx.net>
> >
> > What exactly is this "data that are at hand"?  Why would
> > cuneiform script imply that women couldn't write it?  I don't follow
> > you.
> >
> > Dave Washburn
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