Saturday, April 17, 2021

Modern Papyrus Production

Business Insider has an interesting video on modern papyrus manufacture in Al-Qaramous, Egypt, for those who are interested.

A 3rd Millennium Origin of Early Alphabetic?

Christopher Rollston gives a fascinating discussion of recent finds of clay cylinders at Tell Umm el-Marra in Western Syria that appear to be inscribed in Early Alphabetic script. They were found in what is said to be a firm 3rd millennium BCE archeological context, which Rollston concedes could imply that Early Alphabetic was invented earlier than is normally assumed (19th-18th centuries BCE).

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Friday, April 9, 2021

Biblical Criticism and the Dead Sea Scrolls

The "Biblical Criticism and the Dead Sea Scrolls" conference series convened by John Screnock at the University of Oxford has begun posting recorded sessions online. These are some great presentations by leading scholars, so I highly recommend taking a look at them if you have the time.

Digital Palaeography and Hebrew/Aramaic Scribal Culture

Thanks to everyone who helped make the 2021 International Groningen Symposium "Digital Palaeography and Hebrew/Aramaic Scribal Culture" a smashing success! It was full of exciting papers and vibrant discussion between computer scientists and paleographers, which I hope will be a starting point for many future collaborations and discussions.

For those who were not able to attend, I wanted to let you know that the sessions were recorded and will be made available online in the near future.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Comparative Hellenistic and Roman Manuscript Studies (CHRoMS)

I just got word today that my Comparative Hellenistic and Roman Manuscript Studies (CHRoMS) article has now been published online:


Thanks again to all who contributed, and especially Eugenia Sokolinski for all her help getting it ready and online.

The article stems from several observations of parallels between different scripts in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, which I then developed in greater detail. This is my attempt to explain many of the most prominent stylistic developments in the Hebrew/Aramaic scripts, whose causes have to my mind never been sufficiently elucidated. I hope to build this into a larger comparative manuscript studies project.

Comparative Hellenistic and Roman Manuscript Studies (CHRoMS): Script Interactions and Hebrew/Aramaic Writing Culture

Longacre, Drew

    Writing is an expression of culture and is subject to intercultural influences. In this comparative study, I argue that Egyptian and Judean Hebrew/Aramaic scripts from 400 BCE–400 CE were heavily influenced by Greek and later Latin writing cultures, which explains many previously inexplicable phenomena. Jewish writers in the third century BCE adopted the Greek split-nibbed reed pen, which dramatically changed the appearance of Hebrew/Aramaic scripts. At the same time, the normal size for Hebrew/ Aramaic scripts shrank considerably, the pen strokes became mostly monotone and unshaded, and the scripts became more rectilinear, angular, bilinear, and square.
    Each of these features appears to be due to direct imitation of contemporary Greek formal writing. Beginning in the first century BCE, Hebrew/Aramaic writers began to decorate their formal scripts with separate ornamental strokes like those of contemporary Greek and Latin calligraphic scripts. And from the second or third century CE, Hebrew/Aramaic calligraphic scripts seem to be increasingly characterized by horizontal shading, parallel to the contemporary rise of Greek and Latin shaded scripts. Furthermore, in the late Roman period, the traditional Hieratic-derived Aramaic numeral system was replaced by an alphabetic numeral system under the influence of the Greek Milesian alphabetic numerals.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

2500-year-old Torah from Turkey... Again...

So, apparently they found another 2500-year-old Torah in Turkey... :) Is it too much to ask our Turkish fraudster friends at least to copy-paste a real Torah text from the internet!?!? Surely that's not asking too much?

HT Jack Sasson