International conference
5-7 nov. 2018 PARIS (France)


Martin Worthington – University of Cambridge and St John’s College, Cambridge 

Title:Examples of scribal agency from Ancient Mesopotamia

Abstract:Ancient Mesopotamia enjoyed a history of textual transmission which lasted over three thousand years.  This immense time frame provides examples of great continuity and great innovation, across the whole repertoire of writings - from lexical lists, medical prescriptions, narrative poems and prayers.  The first half of this paper will give an overview of source, problems, and ‘highlights’ (such as the ancient statement about the redaction of the Diagnostic-Prognostic handbook).  The second half will explore a passage from the Gilgameš Flood story, in which a transmitter has tweaked the wording so as to make it ‘bitextual’ - a modificatio with wide-ranging implications.

Bio: Martin Worthington is senior lecturer in Assyriology at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of St John’s College.  He is the author of “Principles of Akkadian Textual Criticism” and of “Teach Yourself Complete Babylonian".  His book on bitextuality in the Gilgameš Flood story is about to be published by Routledge.

Patrizia Piacentini, Università degli Studi di Milano 

Title: Sparse names of authors, countless names of scribes : Textual plurality in Pharaonic Egypt

Abstract: A very few names of authors are known from ancient Egypt, while a great amount of texts – in Hieroglypic, Hieratic or Demotic writing – have been preserved on papyri, ostraka, and other materials, in addition to the walls of temples and tombs. On the latter, the oldest and longest Egyptian religious compilations are inscribed, from the Pyramid Texts dating back to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, to the last hieroglyphic inscriptions of the Temple of Philae in the 5th century AD. Historical or propagandistic texts, autobiographies, list of offering or titles, and even letters or legal texts were inscribed in temples, tombs or on other media as well. Literary texts dating back to the Classical period of the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC have been found recopied or mentioned until the end of Pharaonic history. Thousands of scribes, from the youngest students to professional officials, were involved in the process of recording, preservation and transmission of these texts, often introducing different types of variants. A general illustration of these phaenomena, as well as some specific cases will be presented in the communication.

Bio: Pr. Patrizia Piacentini holds the Chair of Egyptology at the Università degli Studi di Milano (University of Milan) since 1993. In the same University, she ensures the scientific direction of the Archives of Egyptology, which are among the largest in the world, and is the Coordinator of the Doctoral School in Sciences of the Literary, Artistic and Environmental Heritage. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the journal EDAL : Egyptian and Egyptological Documents Archives & Libraries, published in Milan since 2009. Piacentini has an international profile, and is member of the scientific committee of several egyptological associations and foundations, such as the Schiff-Giorgini Foundation, Lausanne. She got a PhD in Egyptian History and Philology at the EPHE IV Sect. in Paris, with a thesis on the Scribes in the IIIrd millennium BC. On this subject she has written a book and many articles, and is working on two new monographies.

Graeme Bird (Harvard University/Gordon College)

Title: Transmission of the Homeric Text: Scribes, Transcribers, or Editors?

Summary: No one knows how the Iliad, an epic poem performed before live audiences, and containing more than fifteen thousand lines, was first committed to writing. And once the first written texts appeared, the process of continued scribal transmission was itself far from straightforward.  Why was there so much textual variation, and how did those involved in the transmission of the Homeric text deal with such an embarras de richesses?

Bio:Graeme Bird comes from New Zealand, where he studied Classics and Mathematics at Auckland University before coming to Boston and getting a Bachelor of Music degree at the Berklee College of Music.  Subsequently he studied Indo-European Linguistics and Classical Philology at Harvard University, earning his AM and PhD there.  He teaches at Gordon College in Wenham and at the Harvard Extension School in Cambridge, both in Massachusetts, USA.  His interests include the textual criticism and poetics of Homer, jazz improvisation, and ancient Greek mathematics, as well as possible links between these seemingly diverse fields.

Andrés Piquer Otero, PhD (2003), Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Title:Redaction and Transmission of 2 Kings 23


Bio:Andrés Piquer Otero, PhD (2003), Universidad Complutense de Madrid, is Associate Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in that university. His areas of research are history of the biblical text and its versions and comparative Northwest Semitic linguistics and literature. He is editor of 2 Kings for The Hebrew Bible: a Critical Edition series.

Pablo Torijano Morales, Complutense University of Madrid 

Title:Redaction and Transmission of 2 Kings 23


Bio:Pablo A. Torijano, Ph.D. (2000), New York University, is Associate Professor in the Department of Hebrew and Aramaic Studies at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. His research focuses on Septuagint and Second Temple Judaism. He is the author of Solomon the Esoteric King (Brill 2002) and the co-editor of The Text of the Hebrew Bible and Its Editions, Studies in Celebration of the Fifth Centennial of the Complutensian Polyglot (Brill 2016), and Textual Criticism and Dead Sea Scrolls Studies in Honour of Julio Trebolle Barrera: Florilegium Complutense Project.

Matthieu Richelle - Ecole pratique des Hautes-Etudes, Paris

Title:Jehu's revolution (2 Kings 9-10) in the hands of creative scribes



Corrado Martone – Università degli Studi di Torino, Dip. di Studi Umanistici

Title:Scribal Activity during the Second Temple Period

Abstract:In order to give an outline of the scribal activity in the Second Temple period, this paper will begin by delineating the figure of the scribes, that is to say those who were mainly in charge of of  the scribal activity. From a number of sources we may assume that the soferim covered a wide spectrum of functions. Subsequently some examples of scribal activity within and outside what is today the Hebrew Bible will be given, highlighting how and to what extent this scribal acritivity is responsible of the textual fluidity that characterizes the Second Temple literature. Moreover a possible link between Enochic and Qumran literature will be investigated through the shared interest in the scribal activity.

Bio:Corrado Martone, PhD (1995) in Jewish Studies, University of Turin, is Associated tenured professor of Hebrew Language and Literature and Jewish History at University of Turin. He is Editor-in-chief of Henoch - Historical and Textual Studies in Ancient and Medieval Judaism and Christianity and Secretary of Revue de Qumran. Corrado has extensively written on Jewish history and literature of the Second temple period and on textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. He is the author of the most complete Italian translation of the Qumran texts and of an Introduction to the Second Temple period.

Mladen Popovic – University of Groningen




Stefan Schorch – Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg

Title:Struggling with the "bridegroom of blood": Exod 4:21-26 in light of the Samaritan textual transmission (Stefan Schorch)

Abstract:The text of Exod 4:21-26 contains several elements which seem to have posed serious challenges to ancient interpreters of the Hebrew text, as attested by several ancient parallel versions of this passage. The paper explores the ways the Samaritan transmission dealt with these difficulties. 

Bio:Stefan Schorch teaches Hebrew Bible and literature of the Second Jerusalem Temple period at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. He is the editor of a critical editio maior of the Samaritan Pentateuch, the first volume of which has most recently appeared (Leviticus, 2018). His current research focuses mainly on Hebrew language traditions of the Second Temple period, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Samaritan reading tradition of the Pentateuch.

Lindsey Askin – University of Bristol

Title:Demas and his unhappy mother: Pluralities of wisdom and text in the Second Temple period

Abstract:This paper addresses the question of wisdom and skill as it relates to scribal activity and textual plurality in the Second Temple period. The epitaph of Demas at Leontopolis (117 BCE) intrigues us as a statement of Demas’ wisdom, yet his profession is unknown. The epitaph is written on behalf of his bereaved mother, children, and wife, and mentions that Demas “helped many with his wisdom.” The inscription raises significant questions about the meanings of wisdom in early Judaism and the status of the “sage.” Literary comparison will be made with expressions of wisdom and textuality in Ben Sira, Daniel, early rabbinic sources, and related inscriptions. This paper will consider whether there can be a fluid plurality of wisdom in this period, particularly in relation to education and textual plurality. Critically assessing the inclusivity of wisdom and learning in this period will help to articulate a new framework of textual plurality in the Second Temple period.

Bio:Dr Lindsey A. Askin is Lecturer in Jewish Studies, University of Bristol, UK. Previously she was an honorary research associate at the University of Exeter (2017-18), and postdoctoral visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies (2016). She is the author of Scribal Culture in Ben Sira (Brill, 2018), based on her doctoral thesis (University of Cambridge, 2012-16). Her current research is on medicine in the Hebrew Bible. Shorter publications include studies on scribal culture and literacy, Ben Sira, Dead Sea Scrolls, the Book of Jubilees, and ancient Jewish medicine.

Frank Ueberschaer  – Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg

Title:Let me praise! – Let us praise! – Who will praise the Ancestors? In Search for Scribal Activity and Influences in the Opening Section of the Praise of the Ancestors

Abstract:In Sir 44:1-15 Ben Sira provides an opening section to his Praise of the Ancestors (Sir 44-50). He gives some kind of general introduction and reveals his intention for his presentation of this "history of Israel." However, reading this portion in its different textual evidences gives insights into several factors that influence textual transmissions: a variant's broader or closer context, the scribe's concern to emphasize something, his attitudes or his notions. But it is not only the mere addition of these factors; more interestingly, these first verses indicate that they depend on each other and prove that actually the scribe's notion of a text defines the range of a variant's context which influences the ongoing process of textual transmission.

Bio:Frank Ueberschaer studied Protestant Theology and Jewish Studies, Dissertation "Weisheit aus der Begegnung. Bildung nach dem Buch Ben Sira" in 2007, Habilitation "Vom Gründungsmythos zur Untergangssymphonie. Eine text- und literaturgeschichtliche Untersuchung zu 1Kön 11-14" in 2014, Professor for the Exegesis and Theology of the Old Testament at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg.

Jean-Sébastien Rey – Université de Lorraine

Title:Synonymous Readings and Double readings in Ben Sira's Hebrew Manuscripts

Abstract:The Hebrew manuscripts of Ben Sira from Qumran, Masada and the Cairo Guenizah present numerous variants whether between the different Hebrew witnesses or in the marginal readings of manuscript B. One massive feature of these variants is that most of them represent "synonymous readings." In this paper, we would like to examine more closely this phenomenon based on the different textual Hebrew witnesses of Ben Sira focusing on three main points: (1) In which way this synonymous variants may be apprehended in an historico-linguistic point of view; (2) How this typical feature may inform us on scribal practices from antiquity to medieval period; (3) By comparing this phenomenon with similar features in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls (See S. Talmon, “Synonymous reading”), could these textual variations serve as a paradigm to highlight textual transmission in antiquity.

Bio:Jean-Sébastien Rey studied at the University of Strasbourg and at the Ecole Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jerusalem (2003-2004). He earned a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies delivered jointly by the University of Strasbourg (France) and the KU Leuven (Belgium) and a Habilitation à Diriger les Recherche in 2012. He taught at Strasbourg University from 2004 to 2007 and was appointed at the University of Lorraine (Metz, France) as Associate Professor in Biblical Studies in 2007 and as Professor in 2013. He is specialized in ancient Jewish literature from the Hellenistic period and early Christian literature a special focus on the Sapiential literature (Ben Sira) and the Dead Sea Scrolls. His approach is basically philological, with an interest in how discourses and concepts circulated in Palestine during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. He is the editor of Revue de Qumrân and published 4QInstruction: sagesse et eschatologie (Leiden: Brill, 2009) and editor or coeditor of Conservatism and Innovation in the Hebrew Language of the Hellenistic Period, with Jan Joosten (Leiden: Brill, 2008), The Texts and Versions of the Book of Ben Sira, with Jan Joosten (Leiden: Brill, 2011), The Dead Sea Scrolls and Pauline Literature (Leiden: Brill, 2014) and Tracing Sapiential Traditions in Ancient Judaism, with Hindy Najman and Eibert Tigchelaar (Leiden: Brill, 2016).

James Kugel – Bar Ilan University/Harvard University 

Title:Fortschreibung Happens: Why Some Second Temple Writings Undergo Modification in the Process of Transmission.

Abstract:It is well established in biblical studies (including the study of the biblical apocrypha and pseudepigrapha) that numerous texts have been modified in the course of their transmission. While this is widely recognized, scholars often disagree about specific texts. I wish to consider briefly the case of two texts about which there is some disagreement, The book of Jubilees and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. I am particularly interested in exploring the reasons that have led scholars to conclude one way or another about these two.

Bio:James Kugel was Starr Professor of Hebrew Literature at Harvard University. He left Harvard to become Professor of Bible at Bar Ilan University in Israel, where he also served as chairman of the Department of Bible. A specialist in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Kugel is the author of more than eighty research articles and sixteen books, including The Idea of Biblical Poetry, In Potiphar’s House, On Being a Jew, and The Bible as It Was (this last the winner of the Grawemeyer Prize in Religion in 2001). His more recent books include The God of Old, The Ladder of Jacob, How to Read the Bible, awarded the National Jewish Book Award for the best book of 2007, In the Valley of the Shadow, and A Walk Through Jubilees,and The Great Shift: Encountering God in Biblical Times. He serves as editor in chief of Jewish Studies: an Internet Journal. In 2016, he was awarded Israel’s Rothschild Prize in Jewish studies; in 2017, he was elected a member of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Eibert Tigchelaar – Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven

Title:The Qumran Manuscript Evidence and Theories of the Literary Growth and Variety of the Book of Jubilees

Abstract:The recent articles of Matthew Monger and Eibert Tigchelaar in Revue de Qumran 2014, as well as the 2018 dissertation of Monger, relate some of the Qumran material manuscript evidence to that of recent literary analyses of the text. The paper surveys and critically assesses these material philological approaches to the literary question of Jubilees, and explores the possibility of additional insights rising from material philology of the Qumran manuscripts for Jubilees. 

Bio:Eibert Tigchelaar (PhD 1994, Groningen) is a professor Biblical Studies at Leuven University. His research is focused on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Jean-Marie Auwers – Université catholique de Louvain

Title:La réécriture de Tobie vieux-latin dans le manuscrit VL 109

Abstract:La première Bible d'Alacalá (Madrid, Biblioteca de la Universidad Complutense 31 = VL 109) offre, non seulement pour Tobie, mais aussi pour Judith et Esther, une réécriture du texte biblique, très paraphrasée, emphatique et rhétorique. Le réviseur avait sous les yeux un ou peut-être plusieurs manuscrits vieux latins, et il a voulu rompre avec la parataxe qui caractérise le récit sémitisant de son modèle (ou de ses modèles), au profit d'un style périodique utilisant largement la syntaxe. La communication s’efforcera de préciser les caractéristiques de cette réécriture et de déterminer le type de texte vieux latin qui est à la base.

Bio :Jean-Marie Auwers (né en 1958) est professeur de patrologie et de grec biblique à l’Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve). Il a été l'un des pionniers de l'étude du Psautier comme ensemble organisé (La composition littéraire du Psautier, CRB 46, 2000). Dans le domaine de la critique textuelle, il a collaboré  à l’édition des anciennes versions latines du livre d'Isaïe et est en charge de l'édition de la vetus latina du livre de Tobie. Il est également un collaborateur actif au sein du groupe de recherches « La Bible d'Alexandrie » (Le Cantique des cantiques, Paris, Cerf, sous presse ; Tobie, en préparation). Depuis quelques années, il s'est orienté vers l'édition de textes patristiques en publiant l'Epitomé sur le Cantique des cantiques de Procope de Gaza (CCSG 67, 2011) qu'accompagne une monographie intitulée L'interprétation du Cantique des cantiques à travers les chaînes exégétiques grecques (IPM 56, 2011).

John Screnock – University of Oxford

Title:The Septuagint, Scribalism, and the Literary Growth of Jewish Texts

Asbtract: Recent studies (Wright 2014; Screnock 2017) argue that translation, specifically in the Septuagint, is one facet of scribalism in Jewish antiquity. Beginning with this insight, I suggest that a simple typology of preservation and change applies universally to all textual activity, including composition, revision, copying, and translation. This framework opens up our methods for investigating scribalism, such that more evidence can be used. Phenomena in the Septuagint, for example, are often confined to two possibilities—either the Septuagint reflects a Hebrew Vorlage, in which case its evidence is useful in discussions of Jewish scribalism, or the Septuagint’s variance is a factor of translation, in which case it is excluded from discussion. I argue instead that the Septuagint tells us important things about scribalism even when its phenomena arise from translation and do not reflect a variant Vorlage. I consider a specific literary device, command-execution pairing, to demonstrate the importance of Septuagint evidence for our understanding of the literary growth of Jewish texts.

Bio: John Screnock, Ph.D. (Toronto 2015), is Research Fellow in Hebrew Bible at the University of Oxford, and author of Traductor Scriptor: The Old Greek Translation of Exodus 1-14 as Scribal Activity (Brill 2017).

Patrick Pouchelle – Centre Sèvres

Title:Des scribes créatifs à l’oeuvre dans les Psaumes de Salomon

Abstract:Le milieu d’origine des Psaumes de Salomon fait l’objet d’un grand débat. L’hypothèse pharisienne est maintenant fragilisée. Cependant, l’hypothèse essénienne n’a jamais réussi à s’imposer. Aujourd’hui, la majorité des chercheurs préfèrent laisser cette question ouverte. Werline, par des méthodes sociologiques a proposé une origine parmi un milieu de scribes. Récemment Joosten a proposé que les Psaumes de Salomon soient rapprochés des réviseurs de la Septante au premier siècle de notre ère. Ce papier va suivre cette hypothèse scribale en examinant comment la composition littéraire de ces oeuvres obéit à des techniques scribales déjà bien identifiée dans le processus de transmission des textes.

Bio:Patrick Pouchelle, is Associate Professor (Maitre de conférence) of Old Testament in the Centre Sèvres, Paris. His research focuses on Septuagint and Psalms of Solomon. He has published his phD thesisin 2014 (Dieu éducateur, Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2014). He has organized three colloquia about the Psalms of Solomon, the proceedings of the first one has been published in 2015 (The Psalms of Solomon: Language, History, Theology, Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015), the two others are forthcoming.

Claire Clivaz – Institut Suisse de Bioinformatique, Lausanne

Title:Mk 16,8 and the manuscripts evidences : listen to the scribal voices

Abstract:If New Testament exegesis is mainly convinced about Mk 16,8 as authentic ending of the Gospel according to Mark, other points of view are again present in New Testament textual criticism. The possibility to look easy online at manuscripts is allowing to more and more scholars to consider the empty columns after Mk 16,8 in the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. Moreover, recent scholarly voices demonstrated that these two codex had probably known the existence of alternative endings. The only other manuscript attesting of an end in Mk 16,8 is the 12th century minuscule 304. Such data are leading to reconsider this apparently solved case, and invite to look for the diversity of traditions in dead-alive stories at the first centuries CE.

Bio:Claire Clivaz is Head of DH+. She leads interdisciplinary projects at the crossroad of the New Testament and the Digital Humanities. For example, the project etalks, a multimedia  digital editing tool (, or a 5 years Swiss National Fund about a new Humanities research model, MARK16 ( She is member of a H2020 research infrastructure project DESIR, lead by the ERIC DARIAH. She is a member of several scientific committees (EASSH governing board, EADH executive committee, IGNTP, Humanistica executive committee, etc.) and editorial co-direction or boards (DBS by Brill, IDHR by de Gruyter, etc.).

Peter Malik – Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal-Bethel 

Title:The More, the Merrier? Scribal Activity and Textual Plurality in the New Testament Tradition

Abstract: The collection of writings known today as the New Testament has been preserved in more witnesses than any other text in antiquity. Such a multitude of witnesses has also yielded greater textual plurality, constituted by the ubiquitous presence of textual variation. The present paper aims to introduce the notion of textual plurality in the New Testament more generally, followed by a discussion of various means of scribal involvement in its origin as well as the subsequent scribal interaction with it.   

Bio: Peter Malik is a research associate at the Institut für Septuaginta- und biblische Textforschung, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/ Bethel, where he works on the Editio Critica Maior of the book of Revelation

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