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The paper addresses the frequent collocation /ir(hu)waliyan parittarwaliyan/, which occurs in Luwian incantations embedded in Hittite cuneiform ritual texts. Despite the relatively clear context, the meanings of this and similar collocations have remained obscure. Using combinatory and etymological methods, we intend to demonstrate that it hides the merism “internal (or) external”, which modifies various sorts of supernatural negative phenomena. Furthermore, we intend to argue that such an interpretation is compatible with the Late Bronze Age Anatolian beliefs about potential sources of evil. A collateral result of our demonstration is the elucidation of a number of additional contexts in the Hittite, Luwian, Lydian, and official Aramaic languages.
This article considers the interface between orality and textuality in the Aramaic incantation bowls, as well as the use of performative utterances in the texts of their spells. It demonstrates that writing and writtenness were central to bowl praxis as a whole, and argues that the bowls reflect a growing understanding of writing as performative in itself. In light of this, it suggests that the use of illocutionary acts in the bowl texts reflects the (gradual and ongoing) transfer of performativity from speech to writing in Sasanian Mesopotamia. Such acts of “word magic” in the bowls as oaths and curses are more likely to represent transitional language or a kind of “oral residue” than the verbatim representation of speech or spoken acts.
Studies of Indo-Persian historiography tend to focus on the monumental compositions created at the behest of the Mughal court. This has unfortunately led to the neglect of texts from “regional” settings. The present article intends to expand the field of inquiry by studying Mir Muhammad Maʿsum's Tarikh-i Maʿsumi (completed c. 1600) which was the first Mughal-era Persian history of Sindh. I will argue that the author used the new the literary models developed by Mughal chroniclers in order to both facilitate and contest imperial domination.
This paper takes a novel approach to the question of when and how the text of the Quran was codified into its present form, usually referred to as the Uthmanic text type. In the Quran the phrase niʿmat allāh/rabbi-ka “the grace of god/your lord” can spell niʿmat “grace” either with tāʾ or tāʾ marbūṭah. By examining 14 early Quranic manuscripts, it is shown that this phrase is consistently spelled using only one of the two spellings in the same position in all of these different manuscripts. It is argued that such consistency can only be explained by assuming that all these manuscripts come from a single written archetype, meaning there must have been a codification project sometime in the first century. The results also imply that these manuscripts, and by extension, Quran manuscripts in general, were copied from written exemplars since the earliest days.
Literary sources from the Abbasid period record few descriptions of courtly masquerades and plays called samāǧa, which closely resemble sumozhe plays from eighth-century China. On the basis of these samāǧa descriptions, the present paper argues that it is possible to understand how samāǧa plays were carried out. Moreover, I argue that samāǧa performances were a Central Asian custom imported to the Abbasid court with the establishment of the Turkish corps, and that its disappearance after the caliphate of al-Muʿtaḍid signals a substantial shift in the nature of the Turkish presence in the Abbasid heartland, marked by the establishment of the mamlūk system.
In the Milarepa Life Story the Buddhist teacher Marpa issues many commands to his student, Milarepa, his wife, Dakmema, and his co-religionist, Lama Ngokpa. In these commands the co-occurrence of the imperative stem (skul tshig) and a given pronoun or vocative (khyod, bu, rang re, etc.) indicates a varying level of distance between himself and the addressee. Marpa's speech is also nuanced by the use of pronouns, vocatives, and nicknames across a variety of registers. Marpa's interlocutors, however, invariably use honorific titles and the deferential verb zhu ba to make their requests. The contrast highlights Marpa's authority, as his speech alone determines how close he is with an interlocutor at a given time.
This article presents a publication and translation (with linguistic and philological commentaries) of a recently discovered piece of Old Amharic poetry, possibly dating to the first half/middle of the seventeenth century. The published text bears the title Märgämä kəbr (“Condemnation of glory”), but its content differs from that of several other Old Amharic poems (not entirely independent from each other) known under the same title. It is only the general idea and the main topics that are shared by all Märgämä kəbr poems: transience of the earthly world, the inevitability of death and of God's judgement, and the necessity of leading a virtuous life. One can thus speak of Märgämä kəbr as a special genre of early Amharic literature, probably originally belonging to the domain of oral literature and used to address the Christian community with the aim of religious education and admonition of laymen.