Re: PH technical issues (was RE: Why Fraktur is irrelevant

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu May 27 2004 - 15:23:22 CDT

  • Next message: Peter Constable: "RE: PH technical issues (was RE: Why Fraktur is irrelevant"

    Peter Constable wrote:

    > But if one can only
    > point to cases of (say) documents from a given community containing 0
    > and .6, or 0 and .9, then it would seem that the nodes had some
    > conceptual validity within that community.

    I don't doubt that nodes had 'conceptual validity' in the ancient community, but what was
    the concept? We subdivide the writing of the Latin script into historical and regional
    nodes (themselves open to dispute), but we recognise only a single script. I think Simon
    Montagu made the point regarding the 'conceptual validity' of the nodes very well today:

            ...the limited evidence seems to suggest that Palaeo-Hebrew
            and Square Hebrew were viewed as font variants by Hebrew
            speakers 2,000 years ago, and as separate scripts by Hebrew
            speakers today.

    Of course the term 'font variant' is anachronistic, but Simon's observation captures the
    essence of the shift from seeing two styles of the same semtitic script to seeing two
    different scripts. If nothing else, this should help us understand why any insistence on
    the identity of these scripts as being either obviously unified or obviously distinct is
    unlikely to get us anywhere. The identity very much depends on the perspective of the

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    Typespaces, by Peter Burnhill
    White Mughals, by William Dalrymple
    Hebrew manuscripts of the Middle Ages, by Colette Sirat

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