[b-hebrew] Hebrew with Aramaic, Phoenician etc in scholarly publications

Peter Kirk peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Wed Jul 16 05:40:25 EDT 2003

I wonder if anyone on either of these lists can help me with a question 
that has come up on the Unicode list 
(http://www.unicode.org/mail-arch/). Outline proposals have been made to 
define Unicode encodings for Aramaic (based on Palmyrene letter shapes 
and presumably intended for inscriptional rather than biblical Aramaic), 
Phoenician (to include paleo-Hebrew), Samaritan, and a few other ancient 
Semitic scripts - see links from 
http://www.unicode.org/roadmaps/index.html. I have questioned whether 
these scripts need to be considered as separate from the Hebrew script, 
which is actually based closely on the Aramaic square script. The lists 
of letter names (consonants only) are identical (or very nearly so), and 
the letter shapes are not  necessarily more different than modern 
cursive Hebrew is from the standard prototypical Hebrew letter shapes.

One of the criteria for whether a new script is justified for an ancient 
language (which was decisive in the recent decision to encode Coptic as 
a separate script from Greek) is whether both scripts are used in 
scholarly publications with distinct appearances. Thus, presumably, 
there are publications in which both Greek and Coptic are quoted and 
distinct scripts are used.

So, my question at last is: Are there scholarly publications (more 
recent than BDB!) which quote inscriptional Aramaic, Phoenician, 
Samaritan, paleo-Hebrew etc as well as Hebrew? In such cases, what 
scripts are used for Aramaic, Phoenician etc? BDB (1906) quoted these 
and even south Arabian inscriptions in Hebrew script. But what is the 
modern practice? Are ancient alphabets (other than Hebrew, Arabic, 
Syriac etc which are in  modern use) ever used in such publications? Are 
these languages ever transcribed in Hebrew script, or only in Latin 
script transliteration? I am interested in practice in Israeli journals 
in modern Hebrew as well as in journals in western languages.

Peter Kirk
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com

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