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A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist, especially one who made copies of manuscripts before the invention of automatic printing.
The profession of the scribe, previously widespread across cultures, lost most of its prominence and status with the advent of the printing press. The work of scribes can involve copying manuscripts and other texts as well as secretarial and administrative duties such as the taking of dictation and keeping of business, judicial, and historical records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. The profession has developed into public servants, journalists, accountants, bookkeepers, typists, and lawyers. In societies with low literacy rates, street-corner letter-writers (and readers) may still be found providing scribe service.
One of the most important professionals in ancient Egypt was a person educated in the arts of writing (both hieroglyphics and hieratic scripts, as well as the demotic script from the second half of the first millennium BCE, which was mainly used as shorthand and for commerce) and arithmetic.Sons of scribes were brought up in the same scribal tradition, sent to school, and inherited their fathers' positions upon entering the civil service.
Much of what is known about ancient Egypt is due to the activities of its scribes and the officials. Monumental buildings were erected under their supervision, 296administrative and economic activities were documented by them, and stories from Egypt's lower classes and foreign lands survive due to scribes putting them in writing. :
Scribes were considered part of the royal court, were not conscripted into the army, did not have to pay taxes, and were exempt from the heavy manual labor required of the lower classes (corvée labor). The scribal profession worked with painters and artisans who decorated reliefs and other building works with scenes, personages, or hieroglyphic text.
The demotic scribes used rush pens which had stems thinner than that of a reed (2 mm). The end of the rush was cut obliquely and then chewed so that the fibers became separated. The result was a short, stiff brush which was handled in the same manner as that of a calligrapher.
Thoth was the god credited with the invention of writing by the ancient Egyptians. He was the scribe of the gods who held knowledge of scientific and moral laws. [ page needed ]
In addition to accountancy and governmental politicking, the scribal professions branched out into literature. The first stories were probably creation stories and religious texts. Other genres evolved, such as wisdom literature, which were collections of the philosophical sayings from wise men. These contain the earliest recordings of societal thought and exploration of ideas in some length and detail.
In Mesopotamia during the middle to late 3rd millennium BCE, the Sumerians originated some of this literature in the form of a series of debates. Among the list of Sumerian disputations is the Debate between bird and fish.Other Sumerian examples include the Debate between Summer and Winter where Winter wins, and disputes between the cattle and grain, the tree and the reed, silver and copper, the pickaxe and the plough, and the millstone and the gul-gul stone.
An Ancient Egyptian version is The Dispute between a man and his Ba, which comes from the Middle Kingdom period.
As early as the 11th century BCE, scribes in Ancient Israel, were distinguished professionals who would exercise functions which today could be associated with lawyers, journalists, government ministers, judges, or financiers. [ page needed ]Some scribes also copied documents, but this was not necessarily part of their job.
The Jewish scribes used the following rules and procedures while creating copies of the Torah and eventually other books in the Hebrew Bible.
Sofers (Jewish scribes) are among the few scribes that still do their trade by hand, writing on parchment. Renowned calligraphers, they produce the Hebrew Torah scrolls and other holy texts.
Until 1948, the oldest known manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible dated back to CE 895. In 1947, a shepherd boy discovered some scrolls dated between 100 BCE and CE 100, inside a cave west of the Dead Sea. Over the next decade, more scrolls were found in caves and the discoveries became known collectively as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Every book in the Hebrew Bible was represented except Esther. Numerous copies of each book were discovered, including 25 copies of the book of Deuteronomy.
While there were other items found among the Dead Sea Scrolls not currently in the Hebrew Bible, and many variations and errors occurred when they were copied, the texts, on the whole, testify to the accuracy of the scribes.The Dead Sea Scrolls are currently the best route of comparison to the accuracy and consistency of translation for the Hebrew Bible because they are the oldest out of any biblical text currently known.
Priests who took over the leadership of the Jewish community preserved and edited biblical literature. Biblical literature became a tool that legitimated and furthered the priests' political and religious authority.
Corrections by the scribes (Tiqqun soferim) refers to changes that were made in the original wording of the Hebrew Bible wording during the second temple period, perhaps sometime between 450 and 350 BCE. One of the most prominent men at this time was Ezra the scribe. He also hired scribes to work for him, in order to write down and revise the oral tradition.After Ezra and the scribes had completed the writing, Ezra gathered the Jews who had returned from exile, all of whom belonged to Kohanim families. Ezra read them an unfamiliar version of the Torah. This version was different from the Torah of their fathers. Ezra did not write a new bible. Through the genius of his ‘editing', he presented the religion in a new light.
In the Middle Ages, every book was made by hand. Specially trained monks, or scribes, had to carefully cut sheets of parchment, make the ink, write the script, bind the pages, and create a cover to protect the script. This was all accomplished in a monastic writing room called a scriptorium which was kept very quiet so scribes could maintain concentration.A large scriptorium may have up to 40 scribes working. Scribes woke to morning bells before dawn and worked until the evening bells, with a lunch break in between. They worked every day except for the Sabbath. The primary purpose of these scribes was to promote the ideas of the Christian Church, so they mostly copied classical and religious works. The scribes were required to copy works in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew whether or not they understood the language. These re-creations were often written in calligraphy and featured rich illustrations, making the process incredibly time-consuming. Scribes had to be familiar with the writing technology as well. They had to make sure that the lines were straight and the letters were the same size in each book that they copied. It typically took a scribe fifteen months to copy a Bible. Such books were written on parchment or vellum made from treated hides of sheep, goats, or calves. These hides were often from the monastery's own animals as monasteries were self-sufficient in raising animals, growing crops, and brewing beer. The overall process was too extensive and costly for books to become widespread during this period. Although scribes were only able to work in daylight, due to the expense of candles and the rather poor lighting they provided, monastic scribes were still able to produce three to four pages of work per day. The average scribe could copy two books per year. They were expected to make at least one mistake per page. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, copying became more of a specialized activity and was increasingly performed by specialists. To meet expanding demand, the pecia system was introduced, in which different parts of the same text were assigned to hired copiers working both in and out of the monasteries.
Women also played a role as scribes in Anglo-Saxon England, as religious women in convents and schools were literate. Excavations at medieval convents have uncovered styli, indicating that writing and copying were done at those locations.Also, female pronouns are used in prayers in manuscripts from the late 8th century, suggesting that the manuscripts were originally written by and for female scribes.
Most of the evidence for female scribes in the early middle ages in Rome is epigraphic. There have been eleven Latin inscriptions uncovered from Rome that identify women as scribes. In these inscriptions we meet with Hapate who was known as a shorthand writer of Greek and lived until the age of 25. Corinna who was known as a storeroom clerk and scribe. Three were identified as literary assistants; Tyche, Herma, and Plaetoriae. There were also four women who have been identified by the title of libraria. Libraria is a term that not only indicates clerk or secretary but more specifically literary copyist. These women were Magia, Pyrrhe, Vergilia Euphrosyne and a freed woman who remains nameless in the inscription. To the inscriptions and literary references we can add one final piece of Roman-period evidence for female scribes: an early-2nd-century marble relief from Rome that preserves an illustration of a female scribe. The woman is seated on a chair and appears to be writing on some kind of a tablet, she is facing the butcher who is chopping meat at a table.
In the 12th century within a Benedictine monastery at Wessobrunn, Bavaria there lived a female scribe named Diemut. She lived within the monastery as recluse and professional scribe. Two medieval book lists exist that have named Diemut as having written more than forty books. Fourteen of Diemut's books are in existence today. Included in these are four volumes of a six volume set of Pope Gregory the Great's Moralia in Job, two volumes of a three-volume Bible, and an illuminated copy of the Gospels. It has been discovered that Diemut was a scribe for as long as five decades. She collaborated with other scribes in the production of other books. Since the Wessobrunn monastery enforced its strict claustration it is presumed that these other scribes were also women. Diemut was credited with writing so many volumes that she single-handedly stocked the Wessobrunn's library. Her dedication to book production for the benefit of the Wessobrunn monks and nuns eventually led to her being recognized as a local saint. At the Benedictine monastery within Admont, Austria it was discovered that some of the nuns had written verse and prose in both Latin and German. They delivered their own sermons, took dictation on wax tablets, and copied and illuminated manuscripts. They also taught Latin grammar and biblical interpretation at the school. By the end of the 12th century they owned so many books that they needed someone to oversee their scriptorium and library. Two female scribes have been identified within the Admont Monastery; Sisters Irmingart and Regilind.
There are several hundred women scribes that have been identified in Germany. These women worked within German women's convent from the thirteenth to the early 16th century. Most of these women can only be identified by their names or initials, by their label as "scriptrix", "soror", "scrittorix", "scriba" or by the colophon (scribal identification which appears at the end of a manuscript). Some of the women scribes can be found through convent documents such as obituaries, payment records, book inventories, and narrative biographies of the individual nuns found in convent chronicles and sister books. These women are united by their contributions to the libraries of women's convents. Many of them remain unknown and unacknowledged but they served the intellectual endeavor of preserving, transmitting and on occasion creating texts. The books they left their legacies within were usually given to the sister of the convent and were dedicated to the abbess, or given or sold to the surrounding community. There are two obituaries that have been found that date back to the 16th century, both of the obituaries describe the women who died as a "scriba". In an obituary found from a monastery in Rulle, describes Christina Von Haltren as having written many other books.
Women's monasteries were different from men's in the period from the 13th to the 16th century. They would shift their order depending on their abbess. If a new abbess would be appointed then the order would change their identity. Every time a monastery would shift their order they would need to replace, correct and sometimes rewrite their texts. Many books survived from this period. Approximately 4,000 manuscripts have been discovered from women's convents from late medieval Germany. Women scribes served as the business women of the convent. They produced a large amount of archival and business materials, they recorded the information of the convent in the form of chronicles and obituaries. They were responsible for producing the rules, statutes and constitution of the order. They also copied a large amount of prayer books and other devotional manuscripts. Many of these scribes were discovered by their colophon.
The scribe was a common job in medieval European towns during the 10th and 11th centuries. Many were employed at scriptoria owned by local schoolmasters or lords. These scribes worked under deadlines to complete commissioned works such as historic chronicles or poetry. Due to parchment being costly, scribes often created a draft of their work first on a wax or chalk tablet.
The Bible is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of an anthology, a compilation of texts of a variety of forms that are all linked by the belief that they are collectively revelations of God. These texts include theologically-focused historical accounts, hymns, prayers, proverbs, parables, didactic letters, erotica, poetry, and prophecies. Believers also generally consider the Bible to be a product of divine inspiration.
Ezra, also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra, was a Jewish scribe (sofer) and priest (kohen). In Greco-Latin Ezra is called Esdras. According to the Hebrew Bible he was a descendant of Sraya the last High Priest to serve in the First Temple, and a close relative of Joshua the first High Priest of the Second Temple. He returned from Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem. According to 1 Esdras, a Greek translation of the Book of Ezra still in use in Eastern Orthodoxy, he was also a High Priest. Rabbinic tradition holds that he was an ordinary member of the priesthood.
The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint, is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible, various biblical apocrypha, and deuterocanonical books. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE; they did not survive as original-translation texts, however, except as rare fragments. The remaining books of the Greek Old Testament are presumably translations of the 2nd century BCE.
Torah has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. This is commonly known as the Written Torah. It can also mean the continued narrative from all the 24 books, from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh (Chronicles). If in bound book form, it is called Chumash, and is usually printed with the rabbinic commentaries. If meant for liturgic purposes, it takes the form of a Torah scroll, which contains strictly the five books of Moses.
The Hebrew Bible, which is also called the Tanakh, or sometimes the Miqra (מִקְרָא), is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passages in Biblical Aramaic. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT) and consists of 24 books, and is sorted and numbered using Perek and pasokim whereas Protestant Bibles divide essentially the same material into 39 books. Catholic Bibles and Eastern / Greek Orthodox Bibles contain additional materials in their Old Testaments, derived from the Septuagint and other sources.
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the 24 books of the Tanakh in Rabbinic Judaism. The Masoretic Text defines the Jewish canon and its precise letter-text, with its vocalization and accentuation known as the masorah. It was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries of the Common Era (CE).
The Samaritan Pentateuch, also known as the Samaritan Torah, is a text of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, written in the Samaritan alphabet and used as scripture by the Samaritans. It constitutes their entire biblical canon.
The Aleppo Codex is a medieval bound manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. The codex was written in the city of Tiberias in the 10th century C.E. under the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate, and was endorsed for its accuracy by Maimonides. Together with the Leningrad Codex, it contains the Ben-Asher masoretic tradition.
A Torah scroll, in Hebrew Sefer Torah, is a handwritten copy of the Torah, meaning: of the Pentateuch, or the five books of Moses. It must meet extremely strict standards of production. The Torah scroll is mainly used in the ritual of Torah reading during Jewish prayers. At other times, it is stored in the holiest spot within a synagogue, the Torah ark, which is usually an ornate curtained-off cabinet or section of the synagogue built along the wall that most closely faces Jerusalem, the direction Jews face when praying.
Paleo-Hebrew script, also Palæo-Hebrew, Proto-Hebrew or Old Hebrew, is the name used by modern scholars to describe the script found in Canaanite inscriptions from the region of Biblical Israel and Judah. It is considered to be the script used to record the original texts of the Hebrew Bible due to its similarity to the Samaritan script, as the Talmud stated that the Hebrew ancient script was still used by the Samaritans. The Talmud described it as the "Libona’a script", translated by some as "Lebanon script". Use of the term "Paleo-Hebrew alphabet" is due to a 1954 suggestion by Solomon Birnbaum, who argued that "[t]o apply the term Phoenician to the script of the Hebrews is hardly suitable".
A sofer, sopher, sofer SeTaM, or sofer ST"M is a Jewish scribe who can transcribe sifrei Torah, tefillin (phylacteries), and mezuzot, of the Five Megillot and other religious writings.
Diemoth was a recluse at Wessobrunn Abbey in Upper Bavaria, Germany, born around 1060 and died on 30 March, probably in 1130. She worked on 45 manuscripts from 1075 to 1130. Her name comes from the Middle High German word for "humility" or "modesty")
A biblical manuscript is any handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the Bible. Biblical manuscripts vary in size from tiny scrolls containing individual verses of the Jewish scriptures to huge polyglot codices containing both the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the New Testament, as well as extracanonical works.
Ezra–Nehemiah is a book in the Hebrew Bible found in the Ketuvim section, originally with the Hebrew title of Ezra. The book covers the period from the fall of Babylon in 539 BC to the second half of the 5th century BC, and tells of the successive missions to Jerusalem of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and their efforts to restore the worship of the God of Israel and to create a purified Jewish community.
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Modern scholarship suggests that the most recently written are the books of Jonah, Lamentations, and Daniel, all of which may have been composed as late as the second century BCE. Rabbinic sources hold that the biblical canon was closed after the end of the Babylonian Exile.
The Isaiah Scroll, designated 1QIsaa and also known as the Great Isaiah Scroll, is one of the seven Dead Sea Scrolls that were first discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1946 from Qumran Cave 1. The scroll is written in Hebrew and contains the entire Book of Isaiah from beginning to end, apart from a few small damaged portions. It is the oldest complete copy of the Book of Isaiah, being approximately 1000 years older than the oldest Hebrew manuscripts known before the scrolls' discovery. 1QIsaa is also notable in being the only scroll from the Qumran Caves to be preserved almost in its entirety.
The Book of Sirach, also called the Wisdom of Sirach or simply Sirach, and also known as the Book of Ecclesiasticus or Ben Sira, is a Jewish work originally in Hebrew of ethical teachings, from approximately 200 to 175 BCE, written by the Jewish scribe Ben Sira of Jerusalem, on the inspiration of his father Joshua son of Sirach, sometimes called Jesus son of Sirach or Yeshua ben Eliezer ben Sira.
The earliest known precursor to Hebrew is an inscription in Ancient Hebrew is the Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription, if it can indeed be considered Hebrew at that early a stage. By far the most varied, extensive and historically significant body of literature written in the old Classical Hebrew is the canon of the Hebrew Bible, but certain other works have survived as well. It was not unusual for ancient narratives, poetry and rules to have been transmitted orally for several generations before being committed to writing. Before the Aramaic-derived modern Hebrew alphabet was adopted circa the 5th century BCE, the Phoenician-derived Paleo-Hebrew script was used instead for writing, and a derivative of the script still survives to this day in the form of the Samaritan script.
Jeremiah 43 is the forty-third chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter is part of a narrative section consisting of chapters 37 to 44. Chapters 42-44 describe the emigration to Egypt involving the remnant who remained in Judah after much of the population was exiled to Babylon. In this chapter, Jeremiah performs in Egypt one of the sign-acts distinctive of his prophetic style.
Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll, known also as 11QpaleoLev, is an ancient text preserved in one of the Qumran group of caves, and which provides a rare glimpse of the script used formerly by the nation of Israel in writing Torah scrolls during its preëxilic history. The fragmentary remains of the Torah scroll is written in the Paleo-Hebrew script and was found stashed-away in a cave at Qumran, showing a portion of Leviticus. The scroll is thought to have been penned by the scribe between the late 2nd-century BCE to early 1st-century BCE, while others place its writing in the 1st-century CE.
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