Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Tracking the Master Scribe: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Literature
Milstein, Sara J.

New York: Oxford University Press, 2016 pp. xviii + 244. $99.00


Description: When we encounter a text, whether ancient or modern, we typically start at the beginning and work our way toward the end. In Tracking the Master Scribe, Sara J. Milstein demonstrates that for biblical and Mesopotamian literature, this habit can lead to misinterpretation. In the ancient Near East, "master scribes"--those who had the authority to produce and revise literature--regularly modified their texts in the course of transmission. One of the most effective techniques for change was to add something new to the front, what Milstein calls "revision through introduction." This method allowed scribes to preserve their received material while simultaneously recasting it. As a result, many biblical and Mesopotamian texts continue to be interpreted solely through the lens of their final contributions. First impressions carry weight. Tracking the Master Scribe demonstrates what is to be gained when we engage questions of literary history in the context of how scribes actually worked. Drawing upon the two earliest corpora that allow us to track large-scale change, the book provides substantial hard evidence of revision through introduction, as well as a set of detailed case studies that offer fresh insight into well-known biblical and Mesopotamian texts. The result is the first comprehensive profile of this key scribal method: one that was ubiquitous in the ancient Near East and epitomizes the attitudes of the master scribes toward the literature that they left behind.

Subjects: Bible, Ancient Near East, Mesopotamian Literature, Literature

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBLís login procedure is now synched to SBLís. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBLís Terms of Use.


Email Address
SBL Password
 
  
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership


Review by JiSeong Kwon
Published 1/25/2018
Citation: JiSeong Kwon, review of Sara J. Milstein, Tracking the Master Scribe: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Literature, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2018).


Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.

 

 
Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us