Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?

From: James Kass (
Date: Fri May 21 2004 - 01:17:37 CDT

  • Next message: James Kass: "Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?"

    Dean Snyder replied,

    > >Many people believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the Essenes,
    > >but there are some who believe otherwise. Discussion among knowledgeable
    > >historians of the alphabet as to its origins may be lively and entertaining,
    > >but, its identity as a separate script doesn't depend on whether the
    > >Phoenicians created the alphabet or just traded for it.
    > You miss my point. I insist that it isn't a separate script, and that
    > people are zealous to encode it largely because of the "romance" of its,
    > possibly wrong, association with later alphabet developments.

    I respect your point of view even if we disagree. I suspect that people
    are zealous to encode Phoenician because they are eager to store and
    exchange Phoenician data in a standard fashion. Whether or not that
    eagerness and zeal are sparked by romantic notions about the script's
    origins doesn't dampen the zeal any more than whether or not the
    Essenes actually wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls denies the existence or
    importance of the scrolls themselves.

    > As I've said in other emails, rather than encoding Phoenician, the really
    > interesting thing to encode would be Archaic Greek - here you have a
    > series of diascripts that are more different from Classical Greek than
    > Phoenician is from Jewish Hebrew, in glyph shapes, letter stances,
    > directions of writing, numbers of letters, etc. Now THAT would be useful
    > for Classicists - not the meager 22 West Semitic letters enshrined as a
    > "Phoenician" encoding. Furthermore, this has the advantage of side-
    > stepping the whole issue of the origins of the Greek alphabet along with
    > its subsequent Mediterranean script descendants, while not mucking up
    > Canaanite which is already encoded in Unicode, albeit somewhat
    > "prematurely", or "misnamed", as Hebrew.

    Float a proposal for Archaic Greek. Maybe we should actually read your
    proposal before rejecting or accepting it. In other words, we should find
    out what we have to contend with before becoming contentious.

    When you mentioned Archaic Greek in other e-mails, I reviewed several
    on-line charts. I couldn't see that Archaic Greek is more different from
    Classical Greek than Phoenician from modern Hebrew, though, rather
    my observations were just the opposite. To me, Phoenician itself looks
    more like Classical Greek than it does modern Hebrew. But, perhaps
    you have additional evidence to include in a proposal which would persuade
    a change of mind on this.

    Here's one on-line chart showing some of the Archaic Greek variants along
    with Phoenician and Classical Greek. It's contained in this PDF file authored
    by Michael Everson in 1998:
    (The chart is on page five.)

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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