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“‘The Syriac Dots:’ Oral Reading Traditions Recorded in Ink”

Johan Lundberg, University of Oxford

November 29, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 103 Scheide Caldwell

Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity; Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

In the 5th century Syriac scribes began to use dots in order to document the oral reading traditions of the Bible. Some dots were used to vocalise words and differentiate between otherwise identical words. Another set of dots is the topic of this lecture. These dots, often called accents, were used to mark rising and falling tones, as well as different types of pauses. How and why were these dots used? Did Syriac scribes invent the earliest question mark in the history of writing? How did the native Syriac grammarians describe this system? These are some of the questions we will explore in this lecture.

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