Schools and Libraries

E. W. Heaton

in The School Tradition of the Old Testament

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198263623
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601156 | DOI:
Schools and Libraries

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The method of investigation adopted in this book is to see how the diverse literary skills of Israel’s authors, in both poetry and prose, bear witness to their educational background. It is argued that their knowledge of the school-books of Egypt and their use of didactic language and literary forms are explicable only in terms of their training in professional, established and stable institutions. Although there are little specific factual data about Israel’s schools as institutions, a great volume of suggestive evidence has been supplied by archaeologists working in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Syria, and some of this is described; there are also recent finds from two southern military outposts on the edge of the Judaean desert that may provide evidence for a Hebrew school in the eighth century BC, and there is incontrovertible evidence for schools in Hebrew kingdoms from the Siloam Tunnel inscription and the Lachish Letters. There are also scattered references to reading and writing, and various bits of evidence suggesting education in the books of the Old Testament itself, not to mention the editorial process that has been revealed by biblical scholarship. Other topics addressed in the chapter are the evidence for libraries in Israel, its close educational, literary and cultural relationship with Egypt, and evidence for cultivation of the art of speaking.

Keywords: archaeological evidence; biblical evidence; Egyptian school-books; Israeli school tradition; libraries; literary evidence; Mesopotamia; Old Testament; Syria

Chapter.  8332 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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