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The Scribes and Scholars of the City of Emar in the Late Bronze Age
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The Scribes and Scholars of the City of Emar in the Late Bronze Age

by Yoram Cohen

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The city of Emar, modern Tell Meskene in Syria, is one of the most important sites of the western ancient Near East during the Late Bronze Age that have yielded cuneiform tablets. The discovery of more than one thousand tablets and tablet fragments assures Emar's position, along with Bogazkoy-Hattusa and Ras-Shamra-Ugarit, as a major scribal center. Ephemeral documents such as wills or sale contracts, texts about rituals and cultic festivals, school texts and student exercises, and inscribed seals and their impressions enable reconstruction of the Emar scribal school institution and provide materials for investigation into the lives of more than fifty scribes whose works were found in the city. The aim of this book is to place Emar's scribal school institution within its social and historical context, to observe the participation of its teachers and students in the study of the school curriculum, to investigate the role of the scribes in the daily life of the city (in particular within the administration), and to evaluate the school's and its members' position within the network of similar institutions throughout the ancient Near East.

Product Details

Publisher: Harvard Semitic Museum / Eisenbrauns
Publication date: 2009
Bibliographic info: xxvi + 287 pages
Language(s): English


Cover: Cloth
Trim Size: 6 x 9 inches



The value in this work lies in three primary areas: differentiating between Syrian and Syro-Hittite scribal traditions, understanding the scribal education process at Emar, and appreciating the diversity of scribal work. . . . Cohen has written a thoughtful and insightful monograph adding to the understanding of Emarite culture and scribal traditions. Arguments are well-supported, and the author carefully interacts with, and builds upon, the work of prior scholars. Cohen identifies a few areas for future research, including the investigation of the transitional period between Syrian and Syro-Hittite textual traditions, the mechanism of transmission and reception of scholarly materials, why a column for the local language is omitted from lexical texts, and why religious and other relevant local texts are not recorded in the local West Semitic language. The work is an excellent resource for anyone exploring Emar, West Semitic culture, cuneiform scribal education, and Akkadian morphology. -- Bryan C. Babcock, Review of Biblical Literature 2013

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