Alice Mandell is the William Foxwell Albright Chair of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Alice is currently completing her first book, Cuneiform Culture and the Ancestors of Hebrew, which focuses on the Canaanite Amarna Letters, a corpus of cuneiform diplomatic letters between the Egyptian royal court and Levantine polities (mid-14th century BCE). This work offers a sociolinguistic approach to the letters that considers the complex ways in which southern Levantine scribes used to communicate to their scribal peers in Egypt.
Spring Bible & Archaeology Fest 2023
The People Behind the Text: Craft Literacy in Ancient Israel and Judah
Inscribed objects from the ancient southern Levant tell scholars about the evolution of writing and about the history of Hebrew and other languages from this region. And yet, these objects are also valuable resources that can help us to better understand the use of writing by diverse text makers, who were not necessarily scribes. The study of “craft-literacy” opens up a portal into the literacy practices of craft communities, and to the diverse ways that people used and valued writing in Israel and Judah.