Re: New contribution

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Thu Apr 29 2004 - 23:16:15 EDT

  • Next message: Mark E. Shoulson: "Re: New contribution"

    John Hudson wrote:

    > Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
    >> This sounds a lot like what is being proposed, modulo a name-change:
    >> we're working on a Samaritan proposal, Hebrew's already there, and
    >> Michael has proposed Old Canaanite, which for some reason he has
    >> chosen to call Phoenician. The name may be ill-chosen, and it isn't
    >> too late to change it, but it sounds like you're in general agreement
    >> with me and Peter Kirk.
    > Mark, are you sure that you and Peter are in general agreement? Peter
    > seems to be opposing the encoding of Old Canaanite / Phoenician /
    > Ancient North Semitic outright, while you and Dean seem to be
    > supporting some kind of unified encoding for some subset of ancient
    > Near-Eastern scripts separate from the existing Hebrew block. [On the
    > question of Aramaic, the agreement seems closer.]

    It is strange, isn't it? I refer to Peter's stated personal preference,
    not his more official position on the matter.

    Earlier today, Peter Kirk wrote, responding to an earlier post of mine:

    >> For reasons I doubt I could explain, much less defend, I would see
    >> Samaritan disunified from "Hebrew" and from Phoenician/Old Canaanite,
    >> etc. Certainly Samaritan has non-letter glyphs that are unique to
    >> Samaritan usage (vowels, cantillations, etc), but that in itself
    >> doesn't prove much. I tend to see (Modern) Hebrew, Samaritan, and
    >> just-about-everything-else as the divisions--which I guess shows how
    >> my knowledge and research are distributed.
    > I tend to agree, but my limitations are similar.

    So at least in what we admit as our own biases, we agree.

    > Today I received my long sought copy of Birnbaum's _The Hebrew
    > Scripts_ (Brill, 1971), and immediately noted the following comments
    > (vol.1 p.34)
    > [....]

    > It at once suggests the unification of ancient North Semitic scripts
    > on the basis of 'practically negligible' differentiation, while at the
    > same time inisting on the distinct identity of Palaeo-Hebrew even
    > when, as the illustration shows, it is virtually identical to
    > contemporary forms of the other scripts.

    Yes, he's contradicting himself: Paleo-Hebrew is essentially the same
    thing as Phoenician, but Phoenician is unacceptable as a term for it...
    Maybe not a contradiction; maybe just an insistence on a Semito-centric

    And so we're back to the name game. What the names of the characters
    are should not be a critical factor (after all, technically it's the
    "Hebrew" block that's been misnamed already. Such are the vagaries of
    history). The decision of what to name the block is distinct from the
    decision of whether to encode the block at all, so let's stick with that.


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