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a last group of Fischer's gems

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  • Peter T. Daniels
    Our correspondents across the sea could probably use a few smiles today. This is the last of it -- I m out of the ANE/Classical chapters of the book.
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 14, 2006
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      Our correspondents across the sea could probably use a few smiles today. This is the last of it -- I'm out of the ANE/Classical chapters of the book.

      [discussing what he doesn't call the Axial Age]: Buddhism's Pal [sic] Canon, for example, deriving from oral tradition and containing the teachings of the Buddha (c. 563-483 BC), was written down in Pali, the canonical language for Buddhists from many countries. ... At the same time, Hinduism was being conveyed through a variety of texts known collectively as the Vedas; written in the Sanskrit language, these were chiefly preserved through a strict oral tradition insisting on accuracy of pronunciation. (41)

      The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that much writing in Middle Eastern isolation occurred on skins, though gold, silver, copper and bronze were also used for exceptional documents. (46)

      As there existed no Greek or Roman 'holy scriptures', so, too, were absent myths of depictions of Zeus or Jupiter dictating sacred scrolls, as one finds emerging in Judaea at this time. (49)

      Greeks had been reading since c. 2000 BC, when the idea of syllabic writing had arrived in the AEgean from cosmopolitan Canaan. [In fairness, this probably refers to his own "decipherment" of the Phaistos Disk as holding syllabically written Greek.] (49)

      Following the lead of the Greeks, the Jews of the Middle East had been among the first to appreciate the manifest benefits of cultural reading, perhaps as early as the seventh century BC. (60) [Cf. "Of course, before 600 BC very few Greeks could read. Literacy proliferated in the sixth century BC ...(50)]

      After the Exile, having been influenced by cosmopolitan Babylon, the Jews had a new understanding of, and respect for, the written Aramaic word. Scribes suddenly took on a new significance in Jewish society as they redacted older Hebrew traditions and writings in the Aramaic that all Jews now spoke and was becoming the lingua franca of the powerful Persian Empire (550-330 BC), In the synagogues, the scribes began reading and commenting on what was only then becoming the Torah (still only the Pentateuch, the Bible's first five books), later to become the whole body of traditional Jewish teaching. (64) [I don't think that can be taken as referring to the Aramaic = Square Hebrew script; there's no reason to suppose he's ever heard of Targums]

      The traditional names of the 'oldest' books of the Torah -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy -- are mainly of Greek and Latin origin, witnessing their late date of composition or collation. (65)

      [O]nce Roman Judaea had become Roman Palestine, the _Mishnah_ or approved commentary on the Torah was set down in writing. (65)

      The oral and written commentaries known as the Talmud were written in later varieties of Hebrew (and in Aramaic). In the fourth and fifth centuries the Eastern and Western Talmud (the primary source of Jewish religious law, including the _Mishnah_ and the _Gemara_) were put into authoritative written form, in tandem with the written codification of law that was taking place at the same time throughout the Roman Empire. (65)

      The _Midrash_, that collation of scholarly essays addressing the holy tests' deeper meaning ... (65)

      Like the ancient Egyptians and Greeks before them, some hyperopic Romans would surely have used polished stones to magnify the writing, while others simply used drinking glasses filled with water. (77)

      Throughout the Age of Parchment, as the Middle Ages is frequently called ... (84)

      [T]he Apocrypha, a collection of other early Christian writings, also survived in Hebrew and Greek. (85)

      In the first or second century AD scenes depicting episodes in Jesus's life were doubtless adorning early Christians' walls, too. (94)

      All citations from Steven Roger Fischer, _A History of Reading_. Globalities. London: Reaktion Books, 2003,
      --
      Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
    • B.E.Colless
      ... I had better put in a word of defence for Steven Roger Fischer. He mentions me in one of his books, and I am afraid I might come to be included in the
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 15, 2006
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        > From: "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
        > Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 13:22:02 -0700 (PDT)
        > To: ANE-2 list <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
        > Subject: [ANE-2] a last group of Fischer's gems
        >
        > Greeks had been reading since c. 2000 BC, when the idea of syllabic writing
        > had arrived in the AEgean from cosmopolitan Canaan. [In fairness, this
        > probably refers to his own "decipherment" of the Phaistos Disk as holding
        > syllabically written Greek.] (49)
        >
        I had better put in a word of defence for Steven Roger Fischer. He mentions
        me in one of his books, and I am afraid I might come to be included in the
        mocking that is going on here.

        Steven is an American by birth, and now a private scholar here in
        Aotearoa/New Zealand. He lives on Waiheke Island (near Auckland), and he
        earns a living by writing books on languages and scripts. You can read his
        life-story in *Glyphbreaker* (Copernicus, 1997).

        A few years ago, ur Linguistics and Anthropology departments at Massey
        University invited him to tell us about his decipherment work: on the
        Rongorongo tablets of Rapanui/ Easter Island, and the Phaistos Disc of
        Crete.

        He has claimed to be the only person who has successfully cracked two
        undeciphered scripts. Well, it has to be said that he has not really done
        that for either, but I don't think his claims deserve ridicule.

        I was asked to evaluate an article about him for the Readers Digest, and I
        let it through.

        He cannot read the Rapanui "talking boards", but I think he may well have
        discovered the clue: they record creation chants, in the form of
        genealogies. And his big expensive book, *Rongorongo* (OUP, 1997) collects
        all the tablets, and tells their history. I own these two, but his other
        books are available in local libraries in Palmerston North.

        His reading of the Phaistos Disk is based on the assumption that the
        language could be Hellenic, and the signs simply variants of the
        syllabograms found in tablets elsewhere in Crete and Greece (pictorial
        originals > Linear A > Linear B (Mycenean Greek), and was borrowed for
        Bronze-Age "Cypro-Minoan" (mostly in cuneiform style), which became Linear C
        (Cyprus syllabary, mainly for Greek language).


        Now, the language/s of the Linear A texts is/are not Hellenic, but the
        Phaistos Disc could well contain a language of that group (related to Greek
        and Latin).

        The first two characters on each side of the disc can (in my opinion, also)
        plausibly be considered as equivalent to E-QE in the standard syllabary, and
        Fischer takes it to be "Akoue"("Hear"), followed by KU-RI-TI ("Kour├Ętes/
        Cretans") DE-NI-QE ("and Danaoi/ Greeks").

        It is all very seductive, but there are no other texts on which to test his
        results.

        But I think there really might be some valuable gems in Steven's two
        decipherment attempts.

        If only he could employ Peter Daniels as his editor, he could produce books
        with fewer or no mistakes.


        Incidentally, I spend a lot of my time in this area of study, and I have
        drawn up a table of the development of each sign in these Aegean scripts, as
        I see it.

        Today I was looking again at a clay-weight from Bronze-Age Enkomi, which
        says (my reading, but I think many would accept it): TE-KE-LO | PE-SA-RO.

        TEKELO ought to be thekel/ sheqel, and PESARO (with metathesis) could be a
        form of peras (half-shekel, root prs 'divide'), echoed in Daniel 5, "the
        [Aramaic] writing on the wall". The final -O in tekelo, makes it look like
        an Aramaic word (teqla')!

        And, now that I come to mention it, the "Cypro-Minoan" tablet RS 20.25, from
        Ugarit, which I have discussed in this forum in the past, contains a list of
        names, such as I-LI-MA-LI-KI PI-RU U-MI-MO-TI (Ili-Malik son of
        Ummimoti["Dead Mother"?]), where for "son" we meet piru = bir instead of
        pinu = bin.

        Am I looking at Proto-Aramaic at Enkomi?

        Brian Colless
      • Peter T. Daniels
        ... From: B.E.Colless ... I had better put in a word of defence for Steven Roger Fischer. He mentions me in one of his books, and
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 15, 2006
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          ----- Original Message ----
          From: B.E.Colless <briancolless@...>

          > From: "Peter T. Daniels" grammatim@...

          > Greeks had been reading since c. 2000 BC, when the idea of syllabic writing
          > had arrived in the AEgean from cosmopolitan Canaan. [In fairness, this
          > probably refers to his own "decipherment" of the Phaistos Disk as holding
          > syllabically written Greek.] (49)
          >
          I had better put in a word of defence for Steven Roger Fischer. He mentions
          me in one of his books, and I am afraid I might come to be included in the
          mocking that is going on here.

          CAPITAL LETTERS ARE TO INDICATE CHANGE OF WRITER, NOT SHOUTING.

          I TOO AM MENTIONED BY FISCHER; IN FACT, HE USES THE TERMS ABJAD AND ABUGIDA (THOUGH HE WRITES ABUDIGA ALMOST PASSIM).

          Steven is an American by birth, and now a private scholar here in
          Aotearoa/New Zealand. He lives on Waiheke Island (near Auckland), and he
          earns a living by writing books on languages and scripts. You can read his
          life-story in *Glyphbreaker* (Copernicus, 1997).

          HIS "TRILOGY" FOR THE GLOBALITIES SERIES ADDS UP TO THE VERY WORST 900 PAGES EVER PUBLISHED ON L;ANGUAGE AND WRITING. MARIO PEI MAY HAVE SURPASSED HIM IN QUANTITY BUT EVEN HE DID NOT ACHIEVE SUCH LOW QUALITY.

          A few years ago, ur Linguistics and Anthropology departments at Massey
          University invited him to tell us about his decipherment work: on the
          Rongorongo tablets of Rapanui/ Easter Island, and the Phaistos Disc of
          Crete.

          He has claimed to be the only person who has successfully cracked two
          undeciphered scripts. Well, it has to be said that he has not really done
          that for either, but I don't think his claims deserve ridicule.

          SPECIALISTS IN THE FIELDS DO.

          I was asked to evaluate an article about him for the Readers Digest, and I
          let it through.

          NO COMMENT.

          He cannot read the Rapanui "talking boards", but I think he may well have
          discovered the clue: they record creation chants, in the form of
          genealogies. And his big expensive book, *Rongorongo* (OUP, 1997) collects
          all the tablets, and tells their history. I own these two, but his other
          books are available in local libraries in Palmerston North.

          FOR ONCE, A REVIEW AT AMAZON.COM IS WORTH READING: IT IS QUITE LONG, AND IT POINTS OUT SUCH BASIC DEFECTS AS VERY POOR REPRESENTATIONS OF THE TEXTS. NOT ON-TOPIC FOR ANE-2.

          His reading of the Phaistos Disk is based on the assumption that the

          AS EMMETT BENNETT SAYS, _EVERY_ DECIPHERMENT OF THE P.D. IS CORRECT. IF ANY TOPIC SHOULD BE BANNED FROM ANE-2, IT'S THE P.D.
          --
          Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...
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