Scripts Beyond Borders
This collection of essays deals with the phenomenon of allography, taken in the sense of the practice of writing a language in the script of another language. Although by no means all texts highlighted in the essays are of a religious character, they are written in the scripts that are connected with the three monotheistic traditions stemming from the Eastern Mediterranean: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The time span covered ranges from Late Antiquity to (early) modern times. The volume contains studies on such cases as Aljamiado (Romance languages of Spain written in Arabic or Hebrew script but also Bosnian in Arabic script), Judaeo-Arabic, karshuni (Arabic but occasionally also other languages written in Syriac script), and various combinations of languages written in the Greek, Syriac, Armenian and Georgian scripts. In each case, the approach is both philological, concentrating on the various systems of adaptation of the scripts to the phonetics of the languages in question, and historical, with a focus on aspects of intercultural contact and exchange, as well as on the emergence and development of the various allographic traditions over time.
Particularly important questions, discussed in several contributions, are whether specific communities used scripts of a language other than their own for practical or rather for ideological, identity-related considerations, and how these writing practices relate to the sociocultural contexts in which they functioned and developed.