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C. Jay Crisostomo

Sumerian lexical and literary compositions both emerged from the same social sphere, namely scribal education. The complexities of inter-compositional dependence in these two corpora have not been thoroughly explored, particularly as relevant to questions of text-building during the Old Babylonian period (c. 1800–1600 bce). Copying practices evident in lexical texts indicate that students and scholars adopted various methods of replication, including visual copying, copying from memory, and ad hoc innovation. They were not confined to reproducing a received text. Such practices extend to copying literary compositions. A study of compositions from Advanced Lexical Education in comparison with several literary compositions shows a complex inter-dialectic between the corpora, in which lexical compositions demonstrate dependence on literary compositions and vice versa. Thus, Old Babylonian students and scholars could experiment with multiple text-building practices, drawing on their knowledge of the lexical and the literary, regularly creating new versions of familiar compositions.