Springe direkt zu Inhalt

BabMed talk at EPHE, Paris – J. Cale Johnson: Citationality and the Construction of the Interlingual in Classical Sumerian Scholastic Dialogue


Diglossie, traduction intralinguale, réécriture, commentaire
Diglossia, intralingual translation, rewriting, and commentary
Séminaire mensuel / Monthly seminar
EPHE Section des Sciences historiques et philologiques & SCRIPTA-PSL History and Practices of Writing

The Old Babylonian lexical list has long represented, in emblematic form, the central activity of the Mesopotamian Tablet House, as would-be littérateurs worked their way up from individual wedges, to signs, words and turns of phrase. It is wrong, however, to see the recopying of lexical lists as the singular goal of the Tablet House; instead, scholastic debate, taking the memorized lists as their shared common ground, was the height of scholastic practice in the Old Babylonian period. The most important example of scholastic dialogue in the Old Babylonian period is probably to be found in a dialogue known as “The Class Reunion” (aka “Two Scribes” or “Streit zweier Schulabsolventen”), where two interlocutors each seek to best their opponent through their intimate knowledge of the lexical list tradition. The central preoccupation of this form of scholasticism is the assemblage of intra- and inter-textual ciations as well as occasional allusions to Akkadian lemmata that do not explicitly appear in the text itself. And it is here that we see the real intellectual work of recontextualizing and, thereby, motivating ordinary semantic equations between Sumerian and Akkadian within the broader context of Old Babylonian scholasticism as a whole.

For a programme overview please click here.

Zeit & Ort


Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris