LAMINE 2. The Damascus Psalm Fragment: Middle Arabic and the Legacy of Old Ḥigāzī Ahmad Al-Jallad, with a contribution by Ronny Vollandt

Editorial Board: Antoine Borrut and Fred M. Donner

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The Damascus Psalm Fragment investigates Arabic’s transformative historical phase, the passage from the pre-Islamic to the Islamic period, through a new approach. It asks, What would Arabic’s early history look like if we wrote it based on the documentary evidence? The book frames this question through the linguistic investigation of the Damascus Psalm Fragment (PF), the longest Arabic text composed in Greek letters from the early Islamic period. It is argued that its language is a witness to the Arabic vernacular of the early Islamic period, and then moves to understand its relationship with Arabic of the pre-Islamic period, the Quranic Consonantal Text, and the first Islamic century papyri, arguing that all of this material belongs to a dialectal complexed we call “Old Ḥigāzī.” The book concludes by presenting a scenario for the emergence of standard Classical Arabic as the literary language of the late eighth century and beyond.

This new Oriental Institute series—Late Antique and Medieval Islamic Near East (LAMINE)—aims to publish a variety of scholarly works, including monographs, edited volumes, critical text editions, translations, studies of corpora of documents—in short, any work that offers a significant contribution to understanding the Near East between roughly 200 and 1000 CE. 


Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
1. The History of Arabic through Its Texts
2. The Psalm Fragment: Script, Phonology, and Morphology
3. Dating and Localizing the Document, Writing System, and Language
4. Old Arabic, Middle Arabic, and Old Ḥigāzī
5. Edition of the Arabic Columns of the Damascus Psalm Fragment
Appendix 1
Beyond Arabic in Greek Letters: The Scribal and Translational Context of the Violet Fragment
Appendix 2
Pre-Islamic Graeco-Arabic Texts
  • Late Antique and Medieval Islamic Near East 2
  • Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2020
  • ISBN 978-1-61491-052-7
  • 160 pages (xxiv + 136); 31 figures
  • Paperback, 10 x 7 in.
  • $39.95