Yigal Bloch, "Alphabet Scribes in the Land of Cuneiform: S piru Professionals in Mesopotamia in the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid Peri"
English | ISBN: 1463206356 | 2018 | 515 pages | PDF | 6 MB
This book discusses the alphabetic scribes (s piru) mentioned in Mesopotamian documents of the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid periods specifically, of the 6th-5th centuries bce. The period in question saw a wide diffusion of writing in the Northwest Semitic alphabetic script mostly in Aramaic in Mesopotamia; yet, alphabetic texts were normally written in ink on perishable materials and did not survive to be discovered by modern archaeologists. In contrast, cuneiform tablets written on clay have been found in large numbers, and they document different aspects of the alphabetic scribes activities. This book presents evidence for understanding the Akkadian term s piru as a designation for an alphabetic scribe and discusses the functions of these professionals in different administrative and economic spheres. It further considers the question of the ethnic origins of the alphabetic scribes in Mesopotamia, with special attention to the participation of Judeans in Babylonia in this profession. Bloch also provides translations of over 100 cuneiform documents of economic, legal and administrative content.