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orion RE: ORION: Writing Conventions


It would be quite wrong to "retroject" scribal conventions
from a later period onto ancient material, were there not an
overwhelming number of parallels. The continuity of writing
conventions is mind-boggling.

The following are only two examples out of an astonishing
number of parallels.:

One writing convention that has already been mentioned is
xenographic exchange. Xenographic exchange is context-sensitive.
To refer back to the apparent interchangability of logograms and
syllabograms.  If we examine the context of the logogram for "King"
and the syllabogramic "King," we should not be surprised to find
that the logogram is used when the reference is sacred and the
syllabogram when the reference is secular.

This particular orthographic convention still appears more than
4,000 years later. In pre-Benedictine Reform (ca. 950) Anglo-Saxon
MSS, the orthographic distinction is between "Kyning" (King, God,
spiritual king/ruler) and "cyning" (king, secular king/ruler).
For examples, see CV. A.xv and BN. Lat. 8824.  In Latin MSS, it's
the kyrios-k as opposed to K. For examples, see the Benedictine
Rule - both Monte Cassino [Italian] and BL Jun. 121 [AS, 10th] or
St. Gall MSS 353 & 359 [Carolingian, 8th-9th]). The kyrios-k
orthographic convention was imitated in early printed bibles and
remained in use in musical MSS and printed chorale guides until at
least the 16th century.

This same convention appears in the DSS with Paleo-Hebraic used for
the tetragrammaton.

Another example: There were two classes of law codes in antiquity:
public and archival. Public law codes appeared on large stelae
(Hammurabi's is nearly 8 feet high). Archival law codes were on
clay tablets that average 8-9" wide by 14-15" high. When scrolls
came into use, we find that the reading area of an open scroll is
8-9" in width by the correct height for a class of document. If we
look at the Paleo-Hebraic Leviticus, the scroll is about 21-1/2
inches in height with generous margins. The reading area is roughly
14" high. These sizes did not change with the shift to the codex.
In the North African-Semitic tradition the reading area remains
8-9" in width (two scroll columns wide) and 14" in height for THE
law (aka, the Pentateuch). This same size tradition was used in AS

5000 years later, a modern legal pad is 8-1/2" wide by 14" in height.

Writing conventions are conservative to an almost unbelievable
extent. The continuity is so strong and occurs across such a wide
spectrum that, yes, we can draw parallels from later times.


PS: There is a definite problem defining "author." The "author-
revealees" themselves deny being the "authors," that is, the
composers of the text... even in the Moses tradition. It might
be a good idea to wait until Kim Haines-Eitzen completes her
dissertation to discuss the more than a little slippery term:

Dr. R. I. S. Altman                                  RISA@CONCENTRIC.NET      
Voice/FAX: 602-834-6640                                   XNK@DELPHI.COM