Shem Miller

Textuality in antiquity differs significantly from that of modern Western culture in which the text exists as a fixed, idealized abstraction. In antiquity reading was speaking, and stichography is a visual representation of this interface between speech and writing. Stichography’s spatialization displays scribes’ perception of the spoken text including the concomitants of oral performance. Stichography also reflects scribes’ attentiveness to the readership’s experience with the performed or inscribed text. Scribes interacted with compositions as authors, adapting them according to the exigencies of specific performance events. As a result, the transmission of a specific written layout can supersede parallelismus membrorum; nevertheless, parallelism is a constitutive device in the majority of stichographic texts. The demarcation of sense units elicits two symbiotic social uses, both of which are also implied by the content of the canon. Stichographic texts provide a formatted reference point that is styled to facilitate oral performance and pedagogy.

Dead Sea Media

Orality, Textuality, and Memory in the Scrolls from the Judean Desert


Shem Miller

In Dead Sea Media Shem Miller offers a groundbreaking media criticism of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Although past studies have underappreciated the crucial roles of orality and memory in the social setting of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Miller convincingly demonstrates that oral performance, oral tradition, and oral transmission were vital components of everyday life in the communities associated with the Scrolls. In addition to being literary documents, the Dead Sea Scrolls were also records of both scribal and cultural memories, as well as oral traditions and oral performance. An examination of the Scrolls’ textuality reveals the oral and mnemonic background of several scribal practices and literary characteristics reflected in the Scrolls.