This essay examines the Islamic land tax (kharāj) during the first wave of the Arab conquests (ca. 12–24/633–50) and the following century and a half. Highlighting the confused state of land tax and landholding, it argues that Sunni jurists incorporated land tax into Islamic law despite the lack of Qurʾānic injunctions and prophetic tradition. In doing so, they drew upon Qurʾānic concepts such as fay’ and ghanīma while reinterpreting a vast body of conquest narratives and traditions that helped present land tax as a bona fide Islamic practice. A major outcome of this juristic discourse of public finance was the recognition of the ruler’s right to discretionary taxation. Just as the jurists emphasized justice and equitable application of tax laws, they also enabled the government to enjoy a wide latitude in its fiscal management without legal backlash. It further allowed the jurists to speak for God and His Prophet.
This article presents the Turkic Garshuni prayers found in the 18th century Chaldean manuscript Uppsala O Hebr. 47. Out of a total of eight prayers, five have previously been described in the scholarly literature and three are here presented for the first time. The previously described prayers are compared to other (manuscript) witnesses with respect to orthography and textual tradition, and the new prayers are also briefly introduced. Then the orthography used for writing Turkic Garshuni in Uppsala O Hebr. 47 is discussed in more general terms. It is suggested that two different orthographic traditions are represented in the manuscript: one where ʿayn is used as a mater lectionis and ḥēṯ is used as a homophone of kāf with rukkāḵā, and one in which these features are absent. Different ways of writing /ŋ/ are also commented on.
This article complements my article on “Single-Script Mixed-Code Literary Sources from the Cairo Genizah” (2018). It begins with introductory comments on the phenomenon of mixed code in Judeo-Arabic, as a continuously spoken and written Jewish language from medieval to modern times. While the documentary sources in the Cairo Genizah (a Jewish medieval archive found in the loft of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo) have drawn scholars’ attention to this phenomenon, there are few discussions of code switching in dual script Judeo-Arabic literary sources. The article presents and discusses two Genizah sources of this kind (as well as one new documentary source), which feature both Hebrew and Arabic scripts in the space of the same fragment. It argues that the haphazard appearance of code switching in such fragments is misleading. The analysis shows there are specific conditions that govern the mixing of Hebrew and Arabic scripts, and highlights its sociolinguistic background. Code switching is a dominant feature of single script Judeo-Arabic literary sources as well, meaning, those penned solely in Hebrew or Arabic script, which lie beyond the scope of the present study. A systematic survey and study of the Genizah literary sources relevant to both categories (single and dual scripts) is therefore a desideratum, and is bound to lead to a better understanding of the sociolinguistic functions of mixed code in Judeo-Arabic writings and culture.
A Case Study of Syro-X and X-Syriac Writing Systems
George A. Kiraz
It is argued here that functionalism lies at the heart of garshunographic writing systems (where one language is written in a script that is sociolinguistically associated with another language). Giving historical accounts of such systems that began as early as the eighth century, it will be demonstrated that garshunographic systems grew organically because of necessity and that they offered a certain degree of simplicity rather than complexity. While the paper discusses mostly Syriac-based systems, its arguments can probably be expanded to other garshunographic systems.
George A. Kiraz and Sabine Schmidtke
In the multi-lingual world of the Cairo Genizah, Arabic (including Judaeo-Arabic), Hebrew and Aramaic were used in legal documents and letters. Jewish scribes excelled in Hebrew and Arabic penmanship. The mixing of Hebrew and Arabic alphabets in documents by particular writers affords important sociolinguistic insights. This article presents case studies of two Genizah writers, Daniel b. ʿAzaryah (11th century) and Ḥalfon b. Manasse (12th century), who were both highly innovative and exceptional in their use of scripts and vocalisation signs. Their scribal habits and decisions allow us to understand attitudes of writers towards the two scripts, and levels of literacy within the Jewish scriptorium, and provide an important contribution to our understanding of medieval allography and script-switching.
The aim of this paper is to address the question to what extent and for what reasons the Melkites, especially of Southern Syria and Egypt, resorted to allographic writing systems, of which garšūnī, the writing of Arabic with Syriac letters, was only one mode. Indeed, various languages such as Greek, Arabic, Syriac and Christian Palestinian Aramaic (CPA) coexisted in the Melkite community, which is characterized by its linguistic diversity. Melkite garšūnī texts can be dated to between the 11th and the late 13th centuries. While the Melkites were not the first to use garšūnī, this mode of writing was in this period far more widespread among them than in the other oriental Christian communities and not limited to notes and colophons, also including liturgical texts and probably a poem on the Mamluk conquest of Tripoli. Other allographic writing systems were also used by the Melkites, such as writing Arabic in Greek characters, Greek in CPA script or Greek in Syriac script. Consequently a rich, very versatile corpus of allographic writing modes was employed by the Melkites between the 9th and 13th centuries for different kinds of texts. Thus the idea that the use of a specific allographic mode can be attributed to the desire to express a sense of group identity or to the reverence for a specific sacred language seems not generally applicable for the Melkites. At different times and places various Melkite groups had different preferences, because there was no single Melkite prestige language. Therefore it is necessary to establish for each case the respective reasons for the application of a certain allographic writing system.
Anton Pritula and Peter Zieme
The text being discussed is found in many manuscripts of the Divan (collection of poems) of an East Syriac poet Khāmīs bar Qardāḥē (late 13th century). The edition demonstrates the discrepancies in rendering glosses in the Turkish stanzas, in contrast to a relative unity of readings in the Syriac ones. To explain these discrepancies, the following pages discuss the lack of consistency in the Turkic Garshuni tradition. In addition, the poem is one of the earliest texts of this group. It should be dated to the period close to the life of Khāmīs, but was not necessarily composed by this poet, since it is absent from the earliest surviving copies. All the Syriac stanzas use quatrains in a 7-7-8-8 meter. Each of them has its own internal rhyme that follows a constant scheme, i.e. in every first, second and and fourth lines of each verse (ааха). In the Turkic stanzas, the verses have an irregular meter that varies from eight to ten syllables. In the Turkic translation of the Syriac original, one finds many syriacisms, such as bar Maryam (the Son of Mary), a stable combination used in the texts. Such a broad use of borrowings, both in vocabulary and syntax, is common for translated religious texts, especially liturgical ones, in which the proximity to the original might have a great importance.
Ink Recipes from the Western Regions of Islamic Lands
Arianna D’Ottone Rambach
This article reconsiders the text and the authorship of an anonymous Arabic manuscript containing ink recipes. The text was first published by Eugenio Griffini in 1910, but the ink recipes have only recently attracted scholarly attention. Though the latest contributions on the manuscript consider it lost, it is in fact preserved at the Ambrosiana Library. Attributed to ‘the Sicilian’, an anonymous author, it is possible that it is the work of a 15th-century physician from Tunis. Griffini edited the text, but images of the manuscript are published here for the first time, as well as an English translation and a new edition. For comparison, other ink recipes, from a sixteenth-century manuscript in maghribī script are edited and translated as well.