Re: [hebrew] Response to a Proposal to Encode Phoenician in Unicode

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Wed Jun 09 2004 - 11:50:31 CDT

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    Dean Snyder wrote:

    >I have submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee and Working Group 2
    >of the ISO 10646 my response not in support of Michael Everson's proposal
    >to encode Phoenician in Unicode.
    >You can download the Acrobat PDF file from:
    >Feel free to comment. (There have been approximately 1500 emails on the
    >Unicode and Hebrew email lists over the last few months on this topic -
    >it has been very controversial.)

    One thing that only recently occurred to me, regarding the quote from
    Mishna Yadayim that distinguishes Paleo-Hebrew script from Square
    Hebrew: While it is true that any font outside of the accepted ones
    will render a Torah scroll unfit for ritual use, that isn't what's being
    discussed here. The statement is that a scroll written in paleo-Hebrew
    script does not qualify as a "sacred text" in the context of rendering
    one's hands or certain foods impure (it's a long story; suffice to say
    that by rabbinic decree, holy texts and hands that touched them were
    considered ritually impure). A scroll in which all the letters have
    been erased except for 85 of them is also unfit for ritual use (no
    surprise there), but it does render the hands impure (Yadayim 3:5). So
    while I couldn't read in the synagogue from a scroll written in Narkiss
    Bold, near as I can tell it *would* fall into the category of ritual
    impurity (if it was *written* on parchment, that is; not sure about

    The Tanaaim pretty clearly did not view this as a matter of font-variants.


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