Scribal Habits at the Tebtunis Temple Library: On Materiality, Formal Features, and Palaeography

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The Tebtunis temple library provides a unique opportunity to investigate the operation of an institutional library from ancient Egypt as the only surviving example of its kind. The paper focuses on a range of formal features, paleography, and the maintenance of texts and manuscripts. An analysis and comparison of formal features—such as the choice of new vs. reused papyrus, choice of script, and the use of guidelines and pagination—with contemporary material from other sites reveals considerable variation in practice and indicates general local trends. However, there is also significant variation within the temple library itself, and it can be shown that some features are closely linked to specific scribes and their personal habits. The many distinctive hands attested in the library leads to the related question of paleography and orthography and the extent to which these factors may help to determinative the provenance of specific text. Finally, the maintenance and transmission of texts and manuscripts through collation, corrections, repair, and re-copying is addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScribal Repertoires in Egypt from the New Kingdom to the Early Islamic Period
EditorsJ. Cromwell, E. Grossman
Number of pages31
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9780198768104
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 144513590