Archival Scribes & Literacy in Babylonia: Theory and Practice

Workshop at Leiden University 1-2 June, 2022

The purpose of this workshop is to gain new insight into legal and social dimensions of writing cuneiform documents. While the education, career and identity of the scholarly scribes has been studied to some extent, the everyday and practical literacy has received very little attention so far. Who were the individuals who wrote legal and administrative documents and letters? Who could retrieve and read such documents?

The focus of the workshop lies on the Neo-Babylonian period, but we adopt a broader view of scribal practices. In particular, we would like to shed light on the agency of scribes. The invited speakers will present their research on scribal activities, from education in cuneiform literacy to scribal practice and specialization among literate individuals.