From: Mark E. Shoulson (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jun 10 2004 - 07:51:22 CDT
Peter Constable wrote:
>[choosing not to cross-post to all three lists]
>>From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
>>Of Mark E. Shoulson
>>The Tanaaim pretty clearly did not view this as a matter of
>In fairness, Unicode does not encode legal judgments any more than it
>does the phonology of any given language. To say that the Tanaaim
>considers two groups of letterforms to be distinct seems to me to be
>comparable to saying that speakers of English distinguish phonemes /k/
>and /s/, and just as we don't use that as an argument to encode both a
>"hard" c and a "soft" c, I don't think we can use a legal distinction as
>an argument for or against distinct encoding.
Well, this is a decision distinguishing writing forms, not spoken forms,
and after all, writing is what we're talking about.
>On the other hand, to the extent that the legal judgment can be seen as
>a reflection of perceptions of script identity by an entire society,
>that may be relevant.
Yes. Obviously, I'm not demanding that Unicode support the Tanaitic
decision for "legal" reasons or anything, just pointing it out as an
indication that they did not consider Paleo-Hebrew to be the same script
as Square Hebrew. And that, I think, would also be my answer to Dean
Snyder's response. They distinguished between the two scripts to the
extent that something written in one was different than the same thing
written in the other. Note also that the very same paragraph discusses
cases of scrolls written in Aramaic instead of Hebrew (or Hebrew instead
of Aramaic, for the Aramaic parts of the Bible). The implication is
that they considered the scripts to be different scripts.
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