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Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period$
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Jennifer Cromwell and Eitan Grossman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768104

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198768104.001.0001

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Greek or Coptic? Scribal Decisions in Eighth-Century Egypt (Thebes)

Greek or Coptic? Scribal Decisions in Eighth-Century Egypt (Thebes)

Chapter:
(p.251) 12 Greek or Coptic? Scribal Decisions in Eighth-Century Egypt (Thebes)
Source:
Scribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period
Author(s):

Jennifer Cromwell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198768104.003.0012

This chapter focuses on the scribes who produced legal documents in the village of Djeme (western Thebes) in the eighth century CE. One specific formulaic component is used as the key case study to examine the degree of variation found between these writers. Scribes can be grouped together based not only on their use of this formula, but in conjunction with their palaeography and orthography. Variation between these features was not arbitrary, but was influenced by the professional networks (‘text communities’) within which they worked. The use of particular formulae was not necessarily a personal one, but reflects the type of training that each person received. In this, the practice of using two scripts for the use of different languages is key, highlighting the importance of extralinguistic elements when considering variation.

Keywords:   palaeography, bigraphism, bilingualism, orthography, scribal training, formulae

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