Authenticating oral and memory variants in ancient Hebrew literature
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The purpose of this essay is to consider the authentication of oral and memory variants in ancient Hebrew literature. I compare types of textual dissimilarity that are associated with scribal errors of hearing or memory with types of dissimilarity that occur regularly in two other types of textual reproduction — quotations and inner-biblical citations. Dissimilarity is the norm with quotations and citations, and the types of dissimilarity generated by quotations and citations are identical to types of dissimilarity that are commonly identified as aural or memory-variants. An author, placing the same utterance in the mouths of two characters (or twice in the mouth of single character) will typically render that utterance with difference. Difference is, if anything, even more characteristic of inner-biblical citations. This serves as a note of caution about too readily drawing conclusions regarding the causes of dissimilarity or the process of recall implied by them and cautions against overestimating the presence and significance of oral and mental features in biblical and Second Temple literature.
Tooman , W A 2019 , ' Authenticating oral and memory variants in ancient Hebrew literature ' , Journal of Semitic Studies , vol. 64 , no. 1 , pp. 91-114 . https://doi.org/10.1093/jss/fgy050
Journal of Semitic Studies
© The author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of Manchester. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1093/jss/fgy050
DescriptionA portion of the research for this paper was conducted in 2014 with the support of an Arts and Humanities Research Council fellowship
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