Deviant Readings: Local and Communal Variation in the Sumerian ReadingTradition

Several frameworks have been proposed to explain the ability of the Mesopotamian scholarly tradition to forge and maintain cultural unity in the face of political and social fragmentation, ranging from the textual community, defined by a common reading of a shared corpus, to the distributed library of intellectual resources in both text and in memory.

At the same time, there has been a renewed interest in exploring the regional and local variety in format, form, and content often obscured by paradigmatic tablet collections such as those of Old Babylonian Nippur or Neo-Assyrian Nineveh. The symposium addresses how we reconcile these approaches in order to understand patterns of unity and variation in the Sumerian reading traditions of the 2nd and 1st millennia BCE.

The symposium is organized within the framework of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship on “Scribal Performance and Textual Standardization,” hosted by the working group Histoire et Archéologie de l’Orient Cunéiforme in the UMR 7041– Archéologies et Sciences de l’Antiquité at the CNRS in Nanterre. The talks will take place from 6–7 June 2024 on the campus of the Université Paris Nanterre in the salle de conseil (4. étage) of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Mondes. Papers are scheduled to be ca. 30 minutes each, with 15 minutes for discussion.

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