From: Peter Kirk (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Jul 16 2003 - 10:28:43 EDT
I asked the following question on the b-hebrew and biblical-languages
<some background snipped>
> Are there scholarly publications (more recent than BDB!) which quote
> inscriptional Aramaic, Phoenician, Samaritan, paleo-Hebrew etc as well
> as Hebrew? In such cases, what scripts are used for Aramaic,
> Phoenician etc? BDB (1906) quoted these and even south Arabian
> inscriptions in Hebrew script. But what is the modern practice? Are
> ancient alphabets (other than Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac etc which are in
> modern use) ever used in such publications? Are these languages ever
> transcribed in Hebrew script, or only in Latin script transliteration?
> I am interested in practice in Israeli journals in modern Hebrew as
> well as in journals in western languages.
Some responses I have received:
From a PhD student in Semitics at a major US university:
>As far as I know, they are normally transcribed in Latin or Hebrew
>letters. There may be some need for Samaritan as its own script, but
>generally speaking the epigraphic scripts are better hand-drawn where
From a Jewish professor at a US university:
>Today, even Israeli academic (Hebrew-language) journals usually prefer
>Latin transcription rather than Hebrew, though publications meant for the
>lay public often use Hebrew.
>My personal feeling is that using specific scripts for any but the most
>commonly-studies languages would be lost on the readership of all but the
>most specialized publications.
From a PhD candidate in early Judaism in Canada:
>Current scholarly practice is to transcribe such texts with either the
>square "Hebrew" script (e.g., Discoveries in the Judean Desert; Syrian
>Semitic Inscriptions) or transliteration (e.g., Gogel's Grammar of
>Epigraphic Hebrew). As for Israeli scholars, Kutscher's _The Language and
>Linguistic Background of the Isaiah Scroll_ even transcribes Syriac and
>Ugaritic and some Arabic (as well as Phoenician, Samaritan, Lachish,
>Elephantine, Palmyrene, Mandean, Gaonic) into "Hebrew" script, although
>El-Amarna words is transcribed into Latin characters, and Arabic words may
>be also be in Arabic script or transliteration.
>Two things however, may be worthwhile considering for Unicode:
>(1) Although it is possible to transcribe inscriptional numerals as Arabic
>(i.e. Western) numerals, some (e.g., Gogel) still reproduce their
>inscriptional shapes in transcription.
>(2) Clarification on how to note uncertain readings in transcription (a
>circle or dot above the uncertain letter). I've been using HEBREW MARK
>MASORA CIRCLE 05AF and HEBREW MARK UPPER DOT 05C4 for this purpose, but I'm
>not sure if this is recommended practice.
I'll let you all know if I get any more relevant feedback.
-- Peter Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org http://web.onetel.net.uk/~peterkirk/
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