The History Behind the Languages. Essays of Turfan Forum on Old Languges of the Silk Road ([語言背後的歷史—西域古典語言學高峰論壇論文集])
In the present article two eleventh-century phrases inscribed many times on the walls of the St Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (коуни рони and парехъ мари) are shown to be of Semitic provenance. The authors provide the linguistic arguments which support the claim of a Hebrew source for коуни рони and a Syriac one for парехъ мари. In addition, we offer a reconstruction of the historical pragmatic context in which the phrases can be situated. It is proposed that the коуни рони inscriptions can be connected with the seizure of Novgorod and the plundering of St Sophia by Vseslav of Polotsk in the year 1066. They should be regarded as the oldest tangible proof of contacts with Jews and Hebrew in Rus’. In the case of the парехъ мари inscriptions, the hypothesis is put forward that the author was a certain Efrem, a local citizen, possibly a clergyman, who was a Syrian by descent.
The paper provides a new theoretical perspective on differential case marking (DCM) in Turkic languages. Specifically, it is suggested that at least some cases of DCM can be analyzed in terms of a version of Marantz's (1991) dependent case theory.
The article deals with the toponyms occurring in the Aramaic and Arabic texts of the Late Sassanian and Early Moslem period concerning the biography of the prominent Eastern Syrian mystical writer Isaac of Nineveh. Two particular cases are analysed. Firstly, it is reported by Ishodnah and other writers that Isaac left Qatar in the mid-7th century and became bishop «of Nineveh», whence his cognomen Ninwāyā. The history of Nineveh and its mythological reception are traced to the 7th c. BC. Due to the never forgotten glory of Assyrian past, any new centre which ever re-emerged at Kuyunjik or Nabi-Yunus hills (which had been parts of Assyrian Nineveh) and even the pre-Mosul settlement on the opposite bank of the Tigris (once called Nav-Ardashir) received the name of «Nineveh» and were thought to be the same Assyrian Nineveh. It was this western pre-Mosul settlement that is really implied by «Nineveh» of Isaac. The population lived on the western bank of the Tigris in Nav-Ardashir, while the historical city of Nineveh had been abandoned. Bishops of Nineveh resided in the monastery of Beth Abe (in the Forests). It can be concluded that the term Ninwaya in the episcopal title of the Church of the East was a mere convention. Secondly, the toponym Matut is brought under analysis. After leaving Beth Nuhadra Isaac moved northwards to Susiana (Beth Huzaye), where he spent some time in the monastery of Rabban Shapuhr before moving to the mountain cave where he spent the rest of his hermitic life. The name of the mountain in Aramaic sounds Matut and it is said that Matut encircled Susiane which makes «Matut Mt.» to be a rather vast segment of Zagros. It is impossible to explain the horonym quite reliably, but it can be hypothetically interpreted as a late form of Ancient Mesopotamian GN Mat-Utem (a part of Zagros region at upper Lesser Zab was called that as early as the 2nd mill. BC), used in extended sense.
Syrians who spoke Aramaic idiom developped Greek scientific tradition and handed it over to the Arabs. The ways of that transmitssion are traced in the volume.
The Second Evangelisation of the Axumite kingdom was operated by Syrian monks coming from Roman Empire. They brought to Axum some important practices from their original places. These ensured their missionary success but they also introduced some novelties into social practices of local Christians. One of these practices was the name change as a consequence of ascetic behavior. Syriac ascetics either rejected their names of took upon themselves new Christian names like Man of God, Man of Christб Minister of Christ. Some of these rejection cases are well known from the Syriac monastic tradition (e. g. Alexius), other did not reject the name but showed themselves reluctant to accept old names (like Archelides). In Axum Za-Mikael Arägawi and НуMata Libanos were good examples of the implementation of these practices. In doing that Ethiopic ascetic of Syriac background tried to re-establish the society they were living in on new evangelical cornerstone — the new world should reject the old one.