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12/06/2017

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ab

It makes sense that a dotted dhal could emerge, although one would want to find examples of a dotted dhal in words with a ra as well in order to see that it first emerged as a distinguishing feature. I would hesitate to call it 'Christian Style', though, just on the basis of one 'Christian Arabic' inscription, especially if the orthographic style was just generally 'pre-Islamic'. If one could more solidly contrast multiple pre-Islamic orthographies, then distinguishing Christian would make more sense I would think.

PhoeniX

It's not the dotted dhal but the dotted dāl. But Perhaps you were having some mobile phone autocorrect troubles going on towards the delicious Indian lentils.

There are many inscriptions where dotted d appears next to r. It's an orthographic practice that developed early enough in the Aramaic script that even Syriac has it, rish ܖ has the same shape as daleth ܕ except for the fact that the latter one has that distinguishing dot. It shows up quite commonly in Nabataean inscriptions, this is just the first time it is seen in a version of the Nabataean script advanced enough to be recognisably "Arabic".


You're right of course that calling this "Christian Style" is not quite correct. But it is a bit more than one inscription.

The Yazīd-inscription is clearly part of a whole set of northern inscriptions, which are all Christian. Many have the ḏakara al-ʔilāh formula, and are accompanied by crosses. Recently Fariq al-Sahra posted some pre-islamic inscriptions with prayers to the الالىه also accompanied by a cross.

Other typical features of these inscriptions are: using the Aramaeogram BR for 'son of', using wawation of names and having straight alifs without the typically early Islamic Hijazi/Kufi "foot" to the right.

Also check out Laïla Nehmé's recent article for example:

http://arabianepigraphicnotes.org/journal/article/new-dated-inscriptions-nabataean-and-pre-islamic-arabic-from-a-site-near-al-jawf-ancient-dmah-saudi-arabia

It is clearly not part of the "Hijazi/Islamic" orthography, and has a feature associated with a Christian orthography, which so far has only yielded Christian texts.

But yes a more subtle (and certainly more correct) wording would be that the CPP has the dotting of the dāl which also appears in a Christian Arabic inscription which shares orthographic and formulaic pecularities with other Pre-Islamic christian inscriptions.

I'm sure with time, we'll start finding inscriptions in a more recognizably Hijazi orthography before Islam. After all, early Islamic orthography does not look like they just started writing in it when Islam was founded. It'd be interesting to see what the religious contents of those inscriptions will be.

For now we can say that Hand C of the CPP dotted a dāl in a way that is so far only found in the early Islamic period in a Christian inscription inscription.

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