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Ešmūn

(78 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Old Phoenician deity, probably a  healing deity (> šmn, ‘Oil’), interpreted by the Greeks as  Asclepius and also as  Apollo. An important sanctuary of the cult of Esmun, which was widespread around the Mediterranean, was situated near Ṣidon ( Bustān aš-Šaiḫ). In Tyrus, Esmun was associated with  Melqart. Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography 1 E. Lipiński, s.v. E., DCPP, 158-160 2 R. Stucky, Die Skulpturen aus dem E.-Heiligtum bei Sidon: griech., röm., kypr. und phönik. Statuen vom 6. Jh. v.-3. Jh. n. Chr., 1993.

Semites

(187 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] The term S., which was not introduced into scholarship until the 18th cent.,  goes back to Sem, the son of Noah in the 'Table of Nations' (Gn 10,21-31). Noah's sons named therein are regarded today as the eponymous heroes of various Semitic languages. In modern scholarship, the term S. is limited to linguistics; traditionally, scholarship has assumed a group of Semitic languages or a Semito-Hamitic language family (also known as Afro-Asiatic). Due to the unjustified expansion of t…

Hebrew

(247 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] The name of the Hebrew language is derived from the nomen gentile, also called ‘Hebrew’. This language belongs to the  Canaanite branch of Semitic languages. The 22 symbols of the epigraphical Old Hebrew alphabet developed from the proto-Canaanite  alphabet. The later Hebrew  square script was used only as a book hand. Hebrew developed over several linguistic stages, of which spoken Classical Hebrew, also defined as Old Hebrew, is preserved in inscriptions (10th-6th cents. BC) on stone, ostr…

Edom­ite

(67 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Name of the language used by the residents of the country of  Edom ( Idumaea) south-east of the Dead Sea. Linguistically, E. should be placed between  Phoenician and  Hebrew. It is recorded in only a few inscriptions on ostraca and seals (7th/6th cents. BC).  Bersabe;  Canaanite Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography W. R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine, 1985 L. Herr, The Scripts of Ancient Northwestsemitic Seals, 1978.

Thamudic

(115 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Refers not only to an Early North Arabian dialect that is recorded in graffiti in a modified Ancient South Arabian script (6th cent. BC to 4th cent. AD) throughout the Arabian peninsula, but, according to the most recent state of scholarship, to various individual dialects, namely Taymanic (Early Thamudic A) and Hismaic (Early Thamudic E) and southern Thamudic B, C, D. Hence it cannot be associated with the Arab Θαμυδῖται/ Thamydȋtai tribe alone. Ancient Southern Arabian; Arabic Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography 1 M. C. A. MacDonald, Reflections…

Hasai(ti)c

(63 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] early north-Arabic dialect ( Arabic). Its inscriptions, written in a slightly modified ancient south-Arabic  alphabet, are predominantly grave inscriptions, amongst them two Hasaitic-Aramaic  bilingual inscriptions from north-eastern Saudi Arabia ( c. between 5th and 2nd cents. BC).  Ancient south-Arabic;  Semitic languages Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography W. W. Müller, Das Altarab. und das klass. Arabisch, Hasaitisch, in: W.-D. Fischer (ed.), Grundriß der arab. Philol., 1982, 25-26.

Ancient Southern Arabian

(255 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] (ASA) Earlier known as Himyaritic after the tribe of the Ḥimyar ( Homeritae), this belongs with Ethiopian to the southern branch of the Semitic languages, but is not the same as (Northern) Arabian. There is evidence of four main dialects: c. 9th cent. BC to 6th cent. AD: Ḥadramautian, Minaean, Qataban and Sabaean, named after the centres of power of the same names. The dialects are divided into two groups relative to their causative prefix and the pronoun (3rd person sing. masc.): an h- (only Sabaean) and an s- group. There are further differences in terms of lexis …

Aramaic

(340 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Derives from the collective ethnic term for the  Arameans and belongs with  Canaanite to the north-western branch of the Semitic languages. For its system of writing, Aramaic adopted the Phoenician 22-character  alphabet. The most ancient form of the language is Old Aramaic (10th-8th cents. BC) found in inscriptions in North Mesopotamia and Syria (Tell Feḫerije [1], Arslantaš, with Aramaic-Assyrian bilingual inscriptions and Aramaic-Assyrian-Luwian hieroglyph trilingual inscriptio…

Official Aramaic

(393 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] OA (Egyptian Aramaic, standard literary Aramaic) was the language of administration and correspondence ( lingua franca) of the Achaemenid Empire from the time of Cyrus [2] II (6th-3rd cent. BC). OA does not represent a homogeneous Aramaic dialect but shows dialect characteristics that are  in parts highly divergent. OA was widespread throughout the whole of the Near East and Egypt and was used for a variety of textual genres. In a cursive writing (square script), OA is encountered on papyri and …

Phoenician

(204 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] was the language of the Phoenicians, and together with its later divergent form, Punic, it formed a unity within the Canaanite languages. Phoenician diversified into individual dialects which can only partly be classified according to their geographical areas (Byblus, Zincirli, Cyprus). The alphabet of 22 characters developed from proto-Canaanite. Initially, only consonants were written in its script, which deviated slightly from Aramaic. Written Phoenician sources (from the 13th/…

Canaanite

(95 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Traditional general term for a dialect group of north-west Semitic, spoken and written in Syria, Palestine and in the Mediterranean ( c. 10th cent. BC to today; with proto-Canaanite precursors). Canaanite includes  Phoenician, the closely related  Ammonite,  Punic as a late further development of Phoenician,  Edomite as a link between Phoenician and  Hebrew (the Canaanite dialect passed down best and longest) and  Moabite, which is close to Hebrew. The existence of additional local dialects is still a matter of contention. Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bi…

Ethiopian

(170 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Geez, the classical language of Ethiopia, actually belongs to the southern branch of Semitic languages. It was spoken by the tribes Agazjan and Ḥabas̆āt, which had migrated into Abyssinia from South Arabia, founded the kingdom of  Axum and in the middle of the 4th cent. AD were converted to Christianity by missionaries. The earliest evidence is stone inscriptions (Axum inscriptions, Maṭara obelisk 4th cent. AD). From the 9th cent. until the present Geez has been used only as a literary and church language. Related Semitic languages are Tigri…

Punic

(258 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] is the later form of Phoenician found in the Phoenician colonies of North Africa, esp. Carthage, its far-flung trading centres on Malta, Sicily and Sardinia, in Italy, southern France, Spain, and - disseminated by trade - throughout almost the entire Mediterranean region. Initially, P. was indistinguishable in writing from Phoenician, but from approx. the 5th cent. BC, the first variant written forms begin to appear. The Semitic pharyngeal and laryngeal consonants were hardly used…

Semitic languages

(679 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] In 1781, A.L. Schloezer introduced this term for the languages which were associated with the sons of Sem/Shem (Gn 10:21-31; Semites) and which had a common origin with the so-called Hamitic languages of Africa. The term Hamito-Semitic is used interchangeably with Afro-Asiatic. Within the Hamito-Semitic languages, Akkadian, or rather Eblaite (mid-3rd millennium BC), is attested earliest in writing; Aramaic has the longest continuous written tradition; and modern Arabic is most widely spoken. In the literature, the division of the Semitic languages rem…

Aḥiqar

(195 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Aramaic name of the legendary keeper of the seal who served the Assyrian kings  Sanherib and  Asarhaddon (704-669 BC), mentioned in the Apocryphon Tob 1,21 f. (2,10; 11,17; 14,10, Ἀχιάχαρος; Achiácharos). Assyrian sources are not available. A late Babylonian cuneiform script ((2nd cent. BC) calls an Aba-enlil-dari by the Aramaic name of Ahuaqār [1. 215-218]. A. is the lead character of a biographical novel written in Official Aramaic on papyri (5th century BC) from  Elephantine. It contains wisdom sayings wr…

Qumran Aramaic

(239 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] QA (= Hasmonaic) is the name given to the Aramaic in which the texts found in Qumran were written (1st cent. BC to 2nd cent. AD), which, however, are not quite uniform in their language. QA has the characteristics of a standardized literary language (which also reappears later in Aramaic Bible translations, such as Targum Onqelos, Targum Jonathan: note the pronouns and infinitives). Yet it also still had linguistic features based on Official Aramaic and also the Aramaic of the Bib…

Samaritan

(200 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Special form of Hebrew, in which the Samaritans (Samaria) wrote the Pentateuch and a revised version of the book of Joshua. The Samaritan Pentateuch, which is distinguished from the Masoretic Hebrew text by orthographic variants and religiously based textual changes, was earlier occasionally considered to represent a more original version; yet proto-Samaritan Hebrew text versions have been found in Qumran. The texts from Qumran - which are, with the exception of the Masada Fragmen…

Afro-Asiatic

(140 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[German version] Afro-Asian is a new linguistic term identical to the traditional term Hamito-Semitic. It covers all the major languages related to such language families as  (Ancient) Egyptian, Berber, Cushitic,  Semitic, Chadic (various subfamilies with more than 125 separate languages) and - often debated - Omotic. Overall, it includes more than 200 separate languages, many of them without writing, that can be traced over a period of almost 5,000 years. Reconstructing the proto-Afro-Asiatic lan…

Punisch

(239 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[English version] ist die spätere Form des Phönizischen, das in den phöniz. Kolonien Nordafrikas, insbes. Karthago, und seinen weit verstreuten Handelsplätzen auf Malta, Sizilien, Sardinien, in Italien, Südfrankreich, Spanien und - auf dem Handelswege verbreitet - fast im gesamten Mittelmeerraum begegnet. Anfangs läßt sich das P. in der Schrift nicht vom Phöniz. differenzieren, doch zeigen sich ca. ab dem 5. Jh. v. Chr. die ersten unterschiedlichen Schriftformen. Die semitischen Pharyngal- und Lar…

Edomitisch

(57 words)

Author(s): Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen)
[English version] Bezeichnung der Sprache der Bewohner des Landes Edom (Idumaea) südöstl. des Toten Meeres. Das E. ist zw. Phönikisch und Hebräisch einzuordnen. Es ist durch einige wenige Ostraka- und Siegelinschr. (7./6. Jh.v.Chr.) bezeugt. Bersabe; Kanaanäisch Müller-Kessler, Christa (Emskirchen) Bibliography W.R. Garr, Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine, 1985  L. Herr, The Scripts of Ancient Northwestsemitic Seals, 1978.
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