ᵓUṣṣit il-Gumguma or 'The Story of the Skull’

With Parallel Versions, Translation and Linguistic Analysis of Three 19th-century Judaeo-Arabic Manuscripts from Egypt. Supplemented with Arabic Transliteration


In ᵓUṣṣit il-Gumguma Olav G. Ørum translates and analyzes three parallel 19th-century Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts from Egypt. These manuscripts present a story (whose earliest version is attributed to Kaᶜb al-ᵓAḥbār) about Jesus reviving the skull of a deceased king. The skull narrates his encounter with the Angel of Death, a painful purgatory and descension to hell.

The manuscripts reveal a wide spectrum of interesting written and spoken Egyptian Judaeo-Arabic variety features in which Ørum pays special attention to signs of linguistic divergence from the standardized written ( fuṣḥā) and spoken ( ᶜāmmiyya) variety. The unique sociolinguistic situation of the Jewish Egyptian community makes this book an important contribution to those working on Judaeo-Arabic in general, but also for students or scholars interested in Egyptian Arabic historical dialectology and sociolinguistics.
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Biographical Note

Olav G. Ørum, M.A. (2014), University of Oslo, is a Ph.D.-fellow at that university. This is his first major publication. He is currently writing a doctoral thesis on Egyptian Judaeo-Arabic prophetic legends, to be finished in 2018.

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgements Technical Notes and Abbreviations 1 Introduction  1.1  Judaeo-Arabic Texts: The Presence of a Wide Spectrum of Written and Spoken Varieties  1.2  Middle Arabic  1.3  Standard Arabic and the Nahḍa  1.4  Egyptian Arabic, Egyptian Judaeo-Arabic and Non-Standard Cairene 2 The Jews of 19th-Century Cairo and Their Storytelling Tradition  2.1  The Jewish Community in Cairo During the 19th Century  2.2  On the Story ʾUṣṣit il-Gumguma 3 Three Parallel Judaeo-Arabic Versions and an English Translation of ʾUṣṣit il-Gumguma ‘The Story of the Skull’  3.1  Introduction to the Three Judaeo-Arabic Manuscripts  3.2  Reading Guidelines  3.3  ʾUṣṣit il-Gumguma ‘The Story of the Skull’ 4 Linguistic Analysis  4.1  Orthography and Phonology  4.2  Morphology  4.3  Syntax  4.4  Lexical Features 5 Summary and Concluding Remarks  5.1  Orthography and Phonology  5.2  Morphology  5.3  Syntax  5.4  Lexical Features Appendix 1: Arabic Transliteration of the Parallel Versions Appendix 2: Facsimile of ‘Ramle—Rabbi Yosef Algamil 25’ (GAM) References Index


All interested in Judaeo-Arabic as well as historical sociolinguistics and dialectology in Egyptian Arabic, and anyone concerned with prophetic and other sacred narratives of Jewish, Muslim and/or Christian origin.