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Letter, Letters

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Volume 16
Editor(s): Christine Helmer, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2018

Ancient Near East

Lionel Marti

A letter is a written means of communication linking two people at least. Although the most ancient examples of letters that are known to us date back several centuries after writing was invented, in the Mesopotamian tradition the invention of writing was related to the need of transmitting complex information in a reliable way, as indicated by a famous passage from the epic “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.”…

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