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Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible [Hardcover]

By Karel van der Toorn (Author)
Our Price $ 29.75  
Retail Value $ 35.00  
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Item Number 153483  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   416
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.3" Height: 1.4"
Weight:   1.5 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2007
Publisher   Harvard University Press
ISBN  0674024370  
EAN  9780674024373  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Hardcover $ 35.00 $ 29.75 153483
Paperback $ 28.62 $ 28.62 541337 In Stock
Item Description...

We think of the Hebrew Bible as the Book--and yet it was produced by a largely nonliterate culture in which writing, editing, copying, interpretation, and public reading were the work of a professional elite. The scribes of ancient Israel are indeed the main figures behind the Hebrew Bible, and in this book Karel van der Toorn tells their story for the first time. His book considers the Bible in very specific historical terms, as the output of the scribal workshop of the Second Temple active in the period 500-200 BCE. Drawing comparisons with the scribal practices of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, van der Toorn clearly details the methods, the assumptions, and the material means of production that gave rise to biblical texts; then he brings his observations to bear on two important texts, Deuteronomy and Jeremiah.

Traditionally seen as the copycats of antiquity, the scribes emerge here as the literate elite who held the key to the production as well as the transmission of texts. Van der Toorn's account of scribal culture opens a new perspective on the origins of the Hebrew Bible, revealing how the individual books of the Bible and the authors associated with them were products of the social and intellectual world of the scribes. By taking us inside that world, this book yields a new and arresting appreciation of the Hebrew Scriptures.


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More About Karel van der Toorn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Karel van der Toorn is President of the University of Amsterdam.

Karel Van Der Toorn has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Amsterdam.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good description of early scribal culture  May 12, 2007
The nature of my Ph.D. thesis required an in-depth study of orality theory. Although I had studied early scribal culture, this book -- though clearly intended for the non-specialist -- brings together a significant depth and breadth of material on the subject. Unfortunately, although occasionally referencing orally produced material, van der Toon is overly scribe-centered and does not seriously engage orality theory. This produces a lop-sided impression of how the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures were formed and shaped. Nevetheless, the depiction of scribal culture is easily strong enough for me to recommend the first part of the book.

Unfortunately, I can not recommend the second part of the book, in which van der Toom attempts to reconstruct the writing and collection of the texts that make up the Hebrew Scriptures. Out of the massive mixture of consensus, bold ideas, and cautious suggestions that exist in the scholarship of this field, he fabricates a thesis in which all notions favorable to his paradigm function as equally certain. A more minimalist approach would, in my opinion, have produced less detailed but more convincing conclusions.

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