There Must Be A Word For Them

I’m looking for a single word or even a two word phrase that suggests the author(s) (including anyone involved in an oral creation process), compiler(s), editor(s), excerpters, readers, and referencers of a literary work or collection of literary works. For example, I want to say something like, “The ???s of Homer . . .” or “The ???s of the Gilgamesh Epic . . .” or “The ???s of the Book of Exodus . . ” and mean by ???s all those who had or have an interest in a written work or set of works. But I want ??? to indicate the people and not necessarily the process in which they were or are involved. For this reason, “literary tradition” or the like won’t do. There must be a word for this set of people but just now I have no idea what it is. Do you?

7 thoughts on “There Must Be A Word For Them”

  1. Stephen,
    Interesting idea – I’m not ready for a coined word just yet. I’d almost rather have a German word. While attractive in some ways, the etymology of your suggestion is tied a little too tightly to an idea that I’m sort of trying to avoid. I’d like to be able to refer to the a chronological snapshot of the “tradents,” i.e. the earliest “tradents” or the “tradents” in a period before (or after) the text was fixed, or the “tradents” of the last few decades or whatever time slice I might want to mention.
    Alun,
    It’s been a while; good to hear from you. I toyed with “producers” myself. But “producers” seems to me to exclude more passive readers and referrers. I also toyed with “participants.” The problem there involves a potential ambiguity between those narrated about and those doing the narrating. Are we talking about Homer and the gang or Hector and that other gang?

  2. Without coining a new term, closest I can come up with is “exponent” — tho you’d still need to define your special sense.

  3. Er, I didn’t coin “tradents.” I see it used not uncommonly in my own field (early Christianity).

  4. Stephen -Sorry, Having never heard the word I assumed that you coined it. Bad assumption!
    Giginat – For my purposes I like and will probably use “exponent.” It is a word from common language whose semantic range includes what I have in mind. Yes, I will need to define it but not all that much.
    John – “Compositor!” Some “Fachleute” may use it that way, but I worry that its almost exclusive use as a technical term in printing confuses more than it enlightens. Heck, back in the day I had my company purchase IBM Script Compositor software and a mini computer to run it on so our documentation team could publisher our technical literature ourselves. Man was it ever expensive and was its useful life in service ever short!

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