From: John Hudson (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jul 12 2007 - 21:54:58 CDT
Philippe Verdy wrote:
> This looks like an interlinear annotation added after the initial
> composition in Arabic without them. I think that true Arabic authors would
> have used Arabic pointing if they had needed it...
It's not in Arabic. It's in Hebrew, written in Arabic script.
> (they did not because they
> know the language by context, and the added annotations seem to be added
> there only to help Semitists to transliterate the original Arabic text
> correctly to Hebrew or other scripts, or for epigraphic, palaeographic and
> compared etymological studies within Semitic texts).
This is not a document annotated at a later date by semiticists, this is a 10th century
AD Karaite manuscript of the book of Exodus, now at the British Library. I was thrilled to
see it on display at the _In the beginning_ exhibition in Washington DC when I was
attending the SBL conference last year. Prior to that I had only seen black and white
The bleed-through from the reverse of the pages makes this manuscript look messier than it
is. My guess, based on the positioning, is that the red marks were written first. The
green ink has fared less well, making those marks look older, but they are positioned
around the red marks, not vice versa. The red marks are exactly where you would expect
them to be relative to the letters, and are not displaced by the green marks.
Yes, recreating this document with current software and fonts would be a nightmare. But
these things exist, and someday someone is going to want to produce an electronic edition
for study. Coincidentally, I first came across this manuscript in Colette Sirat's _Hebrew
manuscripts of the Middle Ages_, which also contains an excellent discussion of the way in
which changes in technology filter our knowledge of the past.
The Karaites are oriental Jews who reject the post-Temple rabbinic tradition meaning,
among other things, that they do not recognise the Talmud as a sacred text. They were very
numerous around the time when this manuscript was produced, and like other oriental Jews
wrote Judaeo-Arabic in the Arabic script. The Karaites, as this manuscript shows, also
wrote Hebrew in Arabic, but with Hebrew vocalisation.
-- Tiro Typeworks www.tiro.com Gulf Islands, BC firstname.lastname@example.org We say our understanding measures how things are, and likewise our perception, since that is how we find our way around, but in fact these do not measure. They are measured. -- Aristotle, Metaphysics
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