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Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Epigraphic Evidence from the Iron Age
Christopher A. Rollston
ABS 11
Publication Date
October 2010


Winner of the 2011 Frank Moore Cross Prize as the most substantial volume in the field of Northwest Semitic Epigraphy

Ancient Northwest Semitic inscriptions from Israel, Phoenicia, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Philistia enlighten and sharpen our vision of the Old Testament world in various ways. Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel focuses on this epigraphic evidence in order to broaden our understanding of the techniques and roles of writing, education, and literacy during this biblical period. To that end, the volume systematically covers scribal education; scribal implements; writing media such as stones, potsherds, and plaster; and the religious, administrative, and personal uses of writing. Its “handbook” format makes it easily accessible, including for use as a textbook in courses addressing the cultural context of ancient Israel.

Christopher A. Rollston holds a Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the Johns Hopkins University. He is the editor of the scholarly journal MAARAV, has published widely in the field of epigraphy, and co-chairs the Epigraphy Sessions at the Annual Meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Schools of Oriental Research. He is currently the Toyozo W. Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, Tennessee.

“The author of this book, Christopher Rollston, has emerged as one of the most insightful, prodigious, and authoritative of a younger generation of epigraphic scholars. This work, intended as a ‘handbook,’ represents an accessible synthesis of his views on the state of the art in Northwest Semitic epigraphy, particularly Hebrew epigraphy. … Together with its rich trove of photographs and drawings of inscriptions (many of them done by Rollston himself), this volume is an indispensable resource for any student or scholar interested in the current state of Iron Age Northwest Semitic epigraphy.”
— David M. Carr, Union Theological Seminary in New York (full review)