Points of Contact: The Shared Intellectual History of Vocalisation in Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew - cover image

Book Series

Copyright

Nick Posegay;

Published On

2021-12-14

ISBN

Paperback978-1-80064-296-6
Hardback978-1-80064-297-3
PDF978-1-80064-298-0

Language

  • English

Print Length

390 pages (xii+378)

Dimensions

Paperback156 x 20 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.81" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 22 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.88" x 9.21")

Weight

Paperback1210g (42.68oz)
Hardback1598g (56.37oz)

OCLC Number

1288620127

LCCN

2021392546

BIC

  • CFF
  • CFP

BISAC

  • REL006020
  • LAN009010

LCC

  • PJ5414

Keywords

  • Syriac scholars
  • Arabic scholars
  • Hebrew scholars
  • Bible
  • Qurʾān
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Points of Contact

The Shared Intellectual History of Vocalisation in Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew

In the first few centuries of Islam, Middle Eastern Christians, Muslims, and Jews alike all faced the challenges of preserving their holy texts in the midst of a changing religious landscape. This situation led Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew scholars to develop new fields of linguistic science in order to better analyse the languages of the Bible and the Qurʾān.

Part of this work dealt with the issue of vocalisation in Semitic scripts, which lacked the letters required to precisely record all the vowels in their languages. Semitic scribes thus developed systems of written vocalisation points to better record vowel sounds, first in Syriac, then soon after in Arabic and Hebrew. These new points opened a new field of linguistic analysis, enabling medieval grammarians to more easily examine vowel phonology and explore the relationships between phonetics and orthography.

Many aspects of this new field of vocalisation crossed the boundaries between religious communities, first with the spread of ‘relative’ vocalisation systems prior to the eighth century, and later with the terminology created to name the discrete vowels of ‘absolute’ vocalisation systems.

This book investigates the theories behind Semitic vocalisation and vowel phonology in the early medieval Middle East, tracing their evolution to identify points of intellectual contact between Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew linguists before the twelfth century.

Endorsements

This engaging monograph presents a highly original, detailed, and scholarly discussion of the history of vocalisation. It situates the consolidation of vocalisation in the medieval period, with Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic systems of pointing reflecting shared terminology and intellectual exchange. The panel agreed that the arguments demonstrated a great depth and breadth of knowledge, showed the interrelationships between vocalisation systems effectively, and would be transformational for Masorah studies.

2022 BIAJS Book Prize Panel

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
1. Introduction

Nick Posegay


2. Conceptualising Vowels

Nick Posegay


3. Early Relative Vowel Phonology

Nick Posegay


4. The Development of Absolute Vowel Naming

Nick Posegay


5. Conclusion

Nick Posegay


6. Glossary of Selected Vocalisation Terminology

Nick Posegay


References
Index