Levels of Literacy

Niek Veldhuis

in The Oxford Handbook of Cuneiform Culture

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199557301
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 Levels of Literacy

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This article evaluates the levels of cuneiform literacy in ancient Mesopotamia. It explains that cuneiform writing is a flexible and versatile system that offered both an efficient tool for mundane communication and recording purposes and an intricate symbolic system that invited ancient scholars to explore and research its representational potential. It explains the distinctions among functional literacy, technical literacy, and scholarly literacy and addresses the issue of the acquisition of literacy through education.

Keywords: cuneiform literacy; ancient Mesopotamia; mundane communication; recording purposes; symbolic system; education; functional literacy; technical literacy; scholarly literacy

Article.  9862 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Historical Archaeology

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