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Nicola Reeves

Member of the Department of Classics and Ancient History


Research Project: Patterns of Textual Variation in Enūma eliš

The aim of this research is to investigate the patterns of textual variation among the scribes of Akkadian manuscripts, using Enūma eliš as a case study. The Babylonian creation myth is an attractive choice, partly because the text was of great importance to its ancient readers, and partly because it is almost complete and has been well edited in recent years giving a firm foundation for analysis. Recent scholarship indicates that the tablets from the Neo-Assyrian palaces at Nineveh, in particular, are remarkably consistent, but that tablets from other periods and social/intellectual contexts show greater inconsistency. A close study of the textual variation among the manuscripts has the potential to yield new information about the importance attached by scribes to the faithful reproduction of the exemplar; literacy levels, and the levels of familiarity with the text, among the scribes; and the types of variation by region, possibly leading to greater insights into Mesopotamian scribal habits.