Inscriptional Evidence of Pre-Islamic Classical Arabic: Selected Readings in the Nabataean, Musnad, and Akkadian Inscriptions

Blautopf Publishing
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This book discusses a highly-debated research topic regarding the history of the Arabic language. It investigates exhaustively the ancient roots of Classical Arabic through detailed tracings and readings of selected ancient inscriptions from the Northern and Southern Arabian Peninsula. Specifically, this book provides detailed readings of important Nabataean, Musnad, and Akkadian inscriptions, including the Namarah inscription and the Epic of Gilgamesh. In his book, the author, a known Arabic type designer and independent scholar, provides clear indisputable transcriptional material evidence indicating Classical Arabic was utilized in major population centers of the greater Arabian Peninsula, many centuries before Islam. He presents for the first time a new clear reading of Classical Arabic poetry verses written in the Nabataean script and dated to the first century CE. Furthermore, he offers for the first time a clear detailed Classical Arabic reading of a sample text from two ancient editions of the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, separated by more than1000 years. Throughout his readings, the author provides verifiable evidence from major historical Arabic etymological dictionaries, dated many centuries ago. The abundant of in-depth analysis, images, and detailed original tables in this book makes it a very suitable reference for both scholars and students in academic and research institutions, and for independent learners.
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About the author

Arabic type designer, independent scholar, librarian, and systems engineer. Born 1958 in Sacramento, California, and grew up in Karbala and Baghdad, Iraq. Moved to New York in 1979, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science in Library and Information Sciences. Served for 12 years as a Senior and Supervising Librarian in the New York Public Library, specializing in Arabic, Science, and Business subjects. Served for 15 years as a Systems Librarian and a library IT director in the City University of New York (CUNY.) A known and active Arabic type designer especially noted for his non-traditional, innovative, Arabic typeface designs. Awarded a US design patent in 2000 and a utility patent in 2003 for his Mutamathil Type Style, an open template for simplified, technology-friendly, Arabetic font designs. Published several articles in scholarly journals about Arabic script history, typography, and computing. Contributes regularly to discussions on Arabic script related topics on international typography and archeology forums.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Blautopf Publishing
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Published on
Dec 31, 2013
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Pages
244
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ISBN
9780984984343
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Foreign Language Study / Ancient Languages
Foreign Language Study / Arabic
Literary Collections / Ancient & Classical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Saad D. Abulhab
This book is a comprehensive reference on the history of Arabic Language and script, which goes beyond the sole discussion of technical matters. It studies objectively the evidence presented by modern-day western archeological discoveries together with the evidence presented by the indispensable scholarly work and research of the past Islamic Arab civilization era. The book scrutinizes modern western theories about the history of the Arabs and Arabic language and script in connection with the roles played by Western Near East scholarship, religion and colonial history in the formation of current belief system vs. Arab history and language, which is an essential step to study this correlated and complex topic objectively. In his book, the author explores the relevant facts of history and geography as crucial defining factors in the study of history of Arabic language and script. He offers a brief balanced account on the important topic of Muhammad leadership and Islam in the formation of Arabia, and investigates the Quran as a key evidence and reference of the Arabic language and script. As a research tool, this book presents in-depth tracings and readings of the most relevant inscriptions and the findings accumulated by the author over one and a half year of research. Particularly, it presents new comprehensive readings of the important Umm al-Jimal and al-Namarah Nabataean Arabic inscriptions. The al-Namarah stone which was discovered by French archeologist Dussaud in 1901 (displayed today on a wall in the Louvre Museum of Paris) was assumed for more than a century to be the tombstone of the prominent pre-Islamic Arab king, Umru' al-Qays bin 'Amru. After re-tracing and re-reading its complex inscription, the author concluded it was actually about a previously unknown personality named 'Akdi, possibly a high ranking Arab soldier in the Roman army or an Arab tribal leader, not the burial stone of King Umru' al-Qays or even about him. Similarly, the author proves beyond doubt that the important Umm al-Jimal Nabataean Arabic inscription was not the burial stone of Faihru bin Sali, but Faru' bin Sali. The two inscriptions are among only four Nabataean inscriptions believed by Western scholars to be written in the old Arabic language. These are referenced heavily today as evidence linking the Arabic script to the Nabataean Aramaic script. Utilizing classic Arabic and grammar tools and challenging their accuracy at times, the author findings in this book could potentially amend several historical and linguistic facts as told today by history textbooks. In his book, the author, a known Arabic type designer, studies with an investigative expert eye the early shapes of the pre-Islamic Arabic script and compares them to those of Musnad Arabic and late Nabataean Aramaic inscriptions, in addition to those of the early Islamic Arabic manuscripts and papyri. He concludes that the early Arabic script was not an evolved Nabataean script, but likely an independently derived script of the old Musnad Arabic script, with clear Nabataean influence. Although this book is conceived as a reference tool for scholars and researchers, other readers may find its topics and captivating arguments valid enough to debate and to study further. All chapters can be read independently. There are more than 40 figures and illustrations to aid the reader throughout the book. The first two chapters are intended as introductory essays regarding the history of Arabia (people and language) and the role of Western scholarship. To facilitate the selective and independent reading of the last three chapters, which presents the author research findings and conclusions, the book included (in addition to the chapter-specific references already offered throughout the whole book) chapter-specific introductions and conclusions.
Saad D. Abulhab
The pioneering work presented in this book introduces the earliest known literary and mythology work in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh, in its actual language: early Classical Arabic. It provides a more accurate translation and understanding of the important story of the flood, one of the key stories of the monotheistic religions. In this book, the author, a known Arabic type designer and an independent scholar of Nabataean, Musnad, and early Arabic scripts, was able to decipher the actual meanings and pronunciations of several important names of ancient Mesopotamian gods, persons, cities, mountains, and other entities. He was able to uncover the evolution path of the concept of god and the background themes behind the rise of the monotheistic religions. Utilizing a generous text sample from the Akkadian and Sumerian languages, this book is an excellent reference textbook for scholars and students of Arabic and Assyriology who are interested in translating these ancient languages through both, the historical Arabic etymological references and the deciphering tools of Assyriology. To illustrate his breakthrough Arabic-based deciphering methodology, the author used a sample text consisting of more than 900 lines from three tablets of the Standard and Old Babylonian editions of the Epic of Gilgamesh. By “digging out” the actual language of the epic, he was not only able to resurrect the actual word soundings and linguistic literary style of its original text, but also to provide more accurate and coherent translations. Following his three years of research, he was able to demonstrate through undisputed linguistic evidence that the epic was in fact written in a beautiful, powerful early Classical Arabic language! And the so-called Sumerian and Akkadian languages that the epic was recorded with, which we are told today are unrelated languages, were in fact one evolving early Arabic language, written with one evolving writing system, passing through two major time periods. Although this book is primarily written as a reference textbook for scholars, it is equally suitable for anyone interested in reading the translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, a fascinating Mesopotamian Arab mythology work documenting eloquently some of the most important and lasting ancient myths invented by humankind.
S. M. V. Mousavi Jazayeri

A comprehensive textbook of the early Arabic Kufic script, written as a complete reference book for calligraphers, designers, and students of art history and the history of Arabic language and scripts. This beautiful and powerful script was derived from the earlier Hijazi Mashq style of Mecca and Medina, which was invented by early Muslim scribes to record the Quran. Today, the many historical manuscripts displayed in numerous museums around the world can attest to development and evolution of this remarkable and versatile script. Authored by master calligrapher, Mousavi Jazayeri, this book is the only book written in English that is solely dedicated to the study, learning and revival of the fascinating script behind the first mature Arabic calligraphic style, which was the official script of the Islamic Near East for centuries, before being replaced by the modern Naskh style. In this handbook, Mousavi Jazayeri who had discovered the lost art of cutting the qalam (pen) for early Kufic more than twenty years ago, explains with detailed, clear illustrations how to write early Kufic using a calligraphic pen and even a regular pen. He guides students patiently through the process involved in creating amazing, modern monograms. With clear, ample examples taken from the old Quranic manuscripts, art history students, font designers, and scholars of the history of the Arabic language and scripts can use this reference book to learn the key aspects of the early Kufic script as a writing system. Mr. Mousavi Jazayeri is joined by two co-authors, Perette E. Michelli, a multi-disciplinary historian of medieval and later art, and Saad D. Abulhab, a known Arabic type designer and independent scholar of the history of Arabic language and scripts. The two co-authors are members of the first international group dedicated to the study and revival of the early Kufic script, Kuficpedia, which was formed a few years ago around the historical achievements of Mr. Mousavi.

Saad D. Abulhab
The pioneering work presented in this book introduces the earliest known literary and mythology work in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh, in its actual language: early Classical Arabic. It provides a more accurate translation and understanding of the important story of the flood, one of the key stories of the monotheistic religions. In this book, the author, a known Arabic type designer and an independent scholar of Nabataean, Musnad, and early Arabic scripts, was able to decipher the actual meanings and pronunciations of several important names of ancient Mesopotamian gods, persons, cities, mountains, and other entities. He was able to uncover the evolution path of the concept of god and the background themes behind the rise of the monotheistic religions. Utilizing a generous text sample from the Akkadian and Sumerian languages, this book is an excellent reference textbook for scholars and students of Arabic and Assyriology who are interested in translating these ancient languages through both, the historical Arabic etymological references and the deciphering tools of Assyriology. To illustrate his breakthrough Arabic-based deciphering methodology, the author used a sample text consisting of more than 900 lines from three tablets of the Standard and Old Babylonian editions of the Epic of Gilgamesh. By “digging out” the actual language of the epic, he was not only able to resurrect the actual word soundings and linguistic literary style of its original text, but also to provide more accurate and coherent translations. Following his three years of research, he was able to demonstrate through undisputed linguistic evidence that the epic was in fact written in a beautiful, powerful early Classical Arabic language! And the so-called Sumerian and Akkadian languages that the epic was recorded with, which we are told today are unrelated languages, were in fact one evolving early Arabic language, written with one evolving writing system, passing through two major time periods. Although this book is primarily written as a reference textbook for scholars, it is equally suitable for anyone interested in reading the translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, a fascinating Mesopotamian Arab mythology work documenting eloquently some of the most important and lasting ancient myths invented by humankind.
S. M. V. Mousavi Jazayeri

A comprehensive textbook of the early Arabic Kufic script, written as a complete reference book for calligraphers, designers, and students of art history and the history of Arabic language and scripts. This beautiful and powerful script was derived from the earlier Hijazi Mashq style of Mecca and Medina, which was invented by early Muslim scribes to record the Quran. Today, the many historical manuscripts displayed in numerous museums around the world can attest to development and evolution of this remarkable and versatile script. Authored by master calligrapher, Mousavi Jazayeri, this book is the only book written in English that is solely dedicated to the study, learning and revival of the fascinating script behind the first mature Arabic calligraphic style, which was the official script of the Islamic Near East for centuries, before being replaced by the modern Naskh style. In this handbook, Mousavi Jazayeri who had discovered the lost art of cutting the qalam (pen) for early Kufic more than twenty years ago, explains with detailed, clear illustrations how to write early Kufic using a calligraphic pen and even a regular pen. He guides students patiently through the process involved in creating amazing, modern monograms. With clear, ample examples taken from the old Quranic manuscripts, art history students, font designers, and scholars of the history of the Arabic language and scripts can use this reference book to learn the key aspects of the early Kufic script as a writing system. Mr. Mousavi Jazayeri is joined by two co-authors, Perette E. Michelli, a multi-disciplinary historian of medieval and later art, and Saad D. Abulhab, a known Arabic type designer and independent scholar of the history of Arabic language and scripts. The two co-authors are members of the first international group dedicated to the study and revival of the early Kufic script, Kuficpedia, which was formed a few years ago around the historical achievements of Mr. Mousavi.

Saad D. Abulhab
This book is a comprehensive reference on the history of Arabic Language and script, which goes beyond the sole discussion of technical matters. It studies objectively the evidence presented by modern-day western archeological discoveries together with the evidence presented by the indispensable scholarly work and research of the past Islamic Arab civilization era. The book scrutinizes modern western theories about the history of the Arabs and Arabic language and script in connection with the roles played by Western Near East scholarship, religion and colonial history in the formation of current belief system vs. Arab history and language, which is an essential step to study this correlated and complex topic objectively. In his book, the author explores the relevant facts of history and geography as crucial defining factors in the study of history of Arabic language and script. He offers a brief balanced account on the important topic of Muhammad leadership and Islam in the formation of Arabia, and investigates the Quran as a key evidence and reference of the Arabic language and script. As a research tool, this book presents in-depth tracings and readings of the most relevant inscriptions and the findings accumulated by the author over one and a half year of research. Particularly, it presents new comprehensive readings of the important Umm al-Jimal and al-Namarah Nabataean Arabic inscriptions. The al-Namarah stone which was discovered by French archeologist Dussaud in 1901 (displayed today on a wall in the Louvre Museum of Paris) was assumed for more than a century to be the tombstone of the prominent pre-Islamic Arab king, Umru' al-Qays bin 'Amru. After re-tracing and re-reading its complex inscription, the author concluded it was actually about a previously unknown personality named 'Akdi, possibly a high ranking Arab soldier in the Roman army or an Arab tribal leader, not the burial stone of King Umru' al-Qays or even about him. Similarly, the author proves beyond doubt that the important Umm al-Jimal Nabataean Arabic inscription was not the burial stone of Faihru bin Sali, but Faru' bin Sali. The two inscriptions are among only four Nabataean inscriptions believed by Western scholars to be written in the old Arabic language. These are referenced heavily today as evidence linking the Arabic script to the Nabataean Aramaic script. Utilizing classic Arabic and grammar tools and challenging their accuracy at times, the author findings in this book could potentially amend several historical and linguistic facts as told today by history textbooks. In his book, the author, a known Arabic type designer, studies with an investigative expert eye the early shapes of the pre-Islamic Arabic script and compares them to those of Musnad Arabic and late Nabataean Aramaic inscriptions, in addition to those of the early Islamic Arabic manuscripts and papyri. He concludes that the early Arabic script was not an evolved Nabataean script, but likely an independently derived script of the old Musnad Arabic script, with clear Nabataean influence. Although this book is conceived as a reference tool for scholars and researchers, other readers may find its topics and captivating arguments valid enough to debate and to study further. All chapters can be read independently. There are more than 40 figures and illustrations to aid the reader throughout the book. The first two chapters are intended as introductory essays regarding the history of Arabia (people and language) and the role of Western scholarship. To facilitate the selective and independent reading of the last three chapters, which presents the author research findings and conclusions, the book included (in addition to the chapter-specific references already offered throughout the whole book) chapter-specific introductions and conclusions.
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