ARCE Lecture: Tricks of the Trade

Scribal Creativity in Ancient Egypt

Emily Cole

ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor

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While working in the per-ankh or "house of life" where vast repositories of manuscripts were kept, Egyptian scribes made every effort to transmit ancient knowledge through Egyptian history. Over the course of several millennia, these individuals were confronted with damaged papyri, misinterpreted passages, and language difficulties. In this talk, I will look at the tools that were developed by those ancient intellectuals to overcome those problems and preserve Egyptian cultural materials even in the face of foreign rule in the first millenniums BCE and CE.

Emily Cole is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU. She received her PhD and MA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles (2015), and her BA in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford (2007). Cole studies the social and cultural history of Greek and Roman period Egypt, specializing in how religious, political, and demographic change affected individual and societal language use throughout Egyptian history. Her particular areas of interest include translation studies, the transmission of text and knowledge, and the history of communication.

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