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Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel

Epigraphic Evidence from the Iron Age


Christopher A. Rollston

Ancient Northwest Semitic inscriptions from Israel, Phoenicia, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Philistia enlighten and sharpen our vision of the Old Testament world in various ways. Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel focuses on this epigraphic evidence in order to broaden our understanding of the techniques and roles of writing, education, and literacy during this biblical period. To that end, the volume systematically covers scribal education; scribal implements; writing media such as stones, potsherds, and plaster; and the religious, administrative, and personal uses of writing. Its “handbook” format makes it easily accessible, including for use as a textbook in courses addressing the cultural context of ancient Israel.


Heather Dana Davis Parker and Christopher A. Rollston


Fields of knowledge are always in transition, and the field of Northwest Semitic epigraphy is no exception to this. Within this article, we will delineate certain aspects of the history of this field and will discuss the traditional means of studying ancient texts in light of new technological innovations. Our goal is to demarcate how these innovations are impacting the ways we do research, as well as how they can facilitate the presentation of our research and the ways we teach students in our field. A primary focus will be the use of digital technology in drawing ancient texts and palaeographic script charts and how to teach this technology in an epigraphic digital lab. Emphasis will be placed on the linear alphabetic Northwest Semitic corpus; however, the technologies, techniques, and methodologies discussed can be applied to other epigraphic fields.