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Budge demonstrates Egypt's transition from Paganism to Christianity, and finally to Islam, through tales and stories carefully transcribed and translated.
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- 18 A Family Story: Ambiguities of Jewish Identity in Medieval Islam
- On the typology and the worship status of sacred trees with a special reference to the Middle East
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The factor that unites all the varieties is the same Greek script and Orthodox Christianity, which in turn is seen as the ideological pillar of the Greek nation and its nation-state of Greece. Hence, the complication of aspirationally federal, bilingual Greek-Turkish , and bi-confessional Orthodox and Muslim Cyprus sits so uneasily with the mainstream of the Greek ethnolinguistic-cum-ethnoreligious nationalism. Obviously, Pontic or Cypriot Greek could have developed as separate languages written in the same Greek alphabet shared with the Greek language, but the users of Pontic and Cypriot decided against this possibility and have stuck to the idea of a single and indivisible Greek language.
Karamanli was lost in the wake of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey; Karamanli-speakers, dispersed across Greece, quickly adopted Greek as their language. In Greece itself, the use of the Greek script-based Aromanian, Arvanatika, and Pomak is discouraged in the name of the political, ethnolinguistic, scriptural, and religious unity of the Greek nation. Modern Greek is still a complicated story in its own right. It was a compromise variety between Ancient and New Testament Greek on the one hand and Demotic present-day vernacular Greek on the other.
18 A Family Story: Ambiguities of Jewish Identity in Medieval Islam
Katharevousa remained official language in Greece until , when Demotic finally replaced it in the wake of the fall of the military junta , this event paved the way for democracy in this country. These two varieties of Modern Greek, Katharevousa and Demotic, map the main political cleavage in Greek society, namely, between the conservative right and the pro-democratic left.
Until today, the Greek Orthodox Church prefers to use Katharevousa for written purposes. However, when it comes to liturgy, the New Testament Greek is the sole acceptable standard language variety. This became obvious when a Demotic translation of the New Testament Greek original of the Gospel of St Matthew was published in an Athens newspaper in Where does the case of the Arabic language fit the story?
The United States linguist Charles A.
In the case of the Arabic world, these spheres are, namely, everyday life family, neighborhood, market, and workplace , the religious context liturgy and prayers , and the official use of language publications, administration, and official speeches. Official translation of the text into any other form of language, without prior sanction by the Autocephalous Church of Greece and the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople, is prohibited.
This consensus was briefly disturbed during the wake of Reformation, when some Protestant rulers became heads of national churches in their respective polities. But this Protestant cesaropapism is mitigated on several counts in comparison to its Greek or Eastern Roman counterpart. First, the Protestant monarch is a titular Head of State with no day-to-day power prerogatives, which are executed by the constitutionally elected government.
Similarly, the everyday ecclesiastical business is ceded to the Primate, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury in England and the Archbishop of Uppsala in Sweden. None of the ecclesiasts has any formal control over the norms of the English or Swedish language, whereas nowadays the state religions do not limit the freedom of other religions in Britain and Sweden. Significantly, during the 16 th century, the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation resulted, among others, in an ideological consensus that the Bible may be legally translated into vernaculars.
Numerous vernaculars were shaped into official-cum-national languages based on this model of Latin. What remains from the common Western Christian Catholic and Protestant legacy of Latin literacy is the Latin script for writing the post-Latin vernaculars. In Europe, this script is quite a reliable litmus test for ascertaining whether a given national speech community belongs or used to belong to the Western Christian community of Catholics and Protestants.
However, exceptions do occur as in the case of the Orthodox nation of Romanians, who switched from Cyrillic to the Latin script for writing their Romance -Slavic language of Romanian in the mids. Cesaropapism in the Islamic world lasted until the early s.
The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and its transformation into the secular Republic of Turkey constituted the background for the abolishment of the sultanate in , which two years later, in , was followed by the phasing out of the caliphate. Since that moment, in the majority of Arabic and culturally Muslim states, rulers have been secular in their character, although most have adopted a plethora of religious attributes in their demeanor.
Islam remains the most potent ideology of statehood legitimization and maintenance in the Islamic world. The only other Islamic country where religion and politics are even more tightly intertwined nowadays is Iran. However, unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran is not an Arabic-speaking country. Although by and large cesaropapism disappeared from politics and state structures in the Arabicphone polities, the normative idea that politics is religion and both are inseparable remains strong at the level of day-to-day life and political mobilization.
Blasphemers are regularly prosecuted, imprisoned, and even targeted by self-righteous assassins. Although, under sharia, members of other monotheist religions enjoy protection in Islamic states, usually they need to keep a low profile in order to avoid persecution. At the level of language and everyday communication, the continuing intertwining of religion and politics in the Arab countries is reflected in persistent diglossia. The Arabic language employed in writing is known in technical linguistic vocabulary under the sobriquet of Modern Standard Arabic.
However, users considered this standard language as directly stemming from the holy language of the Quran, which is accorded as the highest normative authority.
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It is usually Western linguists who classify the Classical Arabic of this holy book and Modern Standard Arabic as separate varieties or languages. The latter emerged in the course of the employment of the former seventh-century language for the sake of governance, literature, science, and technology in the intervening centuries when numerous political upheavals took place, and the phenomena also subsumed under the general name of modernization, which has unfolded during the past years Versteegh : , One of these was a program of sponsored and grassroots translations adaptations of Western philosophical and scientific works, as well as literature, into Arabic in semi-independent Ottoman Egypt during the long 19 th century.
These translations published in relatively large runs decisively shaped Modern Standard Arabic into what it is now. First, at the turn of the s, a theory of equivalence between French and Arabic was proposed. From this perspective, French had to be inferior to the holy language of the Quran. Subsequently, between and , numerous French works were translated into Arabic, shaping it into a modern language, or a member of the narrow circle of the languages of modernity meaning media of book production, newspapers, technology and full-scale education from elementary school to university.
After Egypt became a British protectorate in , the process was yet repeated when numerous books were translated from English Tageldin Standard Arabic became infused with a variety linguistic loans, neologisms and calques from western languages, which obviously do not occur in the Arabic of the Quran. But, today, in its structures and foundational vocabulary, standard Arabic remains a language that, for all practical reasons, has been removed from day-to-day speech in Arabicphone towns and villages for fourteen centuries.
Not only the language of current Arabic-speakers is different from the standard language on the temporal plane, but the number of regional varieties dialects of this language also proliferated and differences among them grew conspicuously in the course of the expansion of Arabic within the Islamic Caliphate from the Maghreb to Mesopotamia. As the rule of thumb, the more the two given varieties are distant from each other in the terms of space, the less mutually comprehensible they tend to be.
Scholars distinguish about fifty varieties grouped in six conventional clusters, namely, Maghrebi, Egyptian, Sudanese, Peninsular that is, of the Arab Peninsula , Levantine, and Mesopotamian. Nowadays, in the age of Arabicphone nation-states, this novel political reality has melded or torn asunder earlier regional varieties shaping them into more than twenty state-centered varieties Behnstedt and Woidich ; Versteegh : The former continue to disregard this reality on the ground and emphasize the singular nature of the Arabic language as the holy language of the Quran.
On the other hand, non-Arabs or more exactly, westerners trust Arabs on that and see Arabic through the lens of their own — invariably — vernacular languages of the West that are both written and spoken in official situations and in everyday life. In the modern period, during the times of the Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire provided a political and religious unity for almost all the Arabs Arabic-speaking Muslims. This unity was emphasized by the holy Arabic language and script of the Quran, to whom all paid allegiance from the lowly illiterate peasant to rulers and civil servants literati.
When this cesaropapal solution of the Ottoman Empire-cum-Caliphate unraveled in the early s, it was gradually replaced with Arab nationalism, steeped in the Arabic language and script, and by the cultural commonality that stems from, and for that matter remains strongly connected to, Islam. Unlike Europe, where a given national movement aspired to establish for the postulated nation a separate nation-state, Arab nationalism normatively allows for a plethora of separate regional nation-states. The idea of uniting all Arabic-speaking areas into a single Arab nation-state was quite potent in the mid th century at the cusp of worldwide decolonization, but never led to a single stable union of any already established usually postcolonial Arab nation-states.
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The Arab language and the religiously defined cultural commonality the two pillars of Arab nationalism, characterized by a dual ethnolinguistic and ethnoreligious nature appear to be quite a well-working functional replacement for the defunct Caliphate-cum-Empire as the unifier of the Arabicphone world at the beginning of the 21 st century Choueiri : , , To an Arab not educated about the use of standard Arabic, the language is anything but comprehensible. Earlier, for most people, it was sufficient to learn how to mouth the suras of the Quran, without the need to understand the actual meaning of the uttered words.
The faithful oral recitation of appropriate verses from the holy book was sufficient. The religious tradition of learning the relatively correct pronunciation of the holy language is practiced among Judaists Jews. Prayer books in Hebrew language are commonly published with phonetic notation above or below the verses in the holy language. This notation appears in smaller font in the script and spelling of the official language of a given state in which a target Jewish community resides.
Hence, in France, such phonetic notation is given in Latin letters in accordance with the French-style spelling. On the other hand, in Russia, the script is Cyrillic, and orthography used for the aforementioned purpose is that of the Russian language. This situation is similar among Muslims in using Arabic for religious purposes.
In the course of modernization, across the entire region of the Abrahamic religions, irrespective of how strong the normative hold of religion may still remain, the holy language of a sacred scripture was replaced by a vernacular either related or unrelated to the holy language.
On the typology and the worship status of sacred trees with a special reference to the Middle East
Some cases of such a last ditch of the language of a holy book in favor of a vernacular for everyday use occurred rather late, for instance, in the mid th century in the case of Jews and in the mids in the case of Greeks. In this context, the Arabic-speaking core of the Islamic world is the only case where the holy language became a language of modernity to the exclusion of vernaculars. The six official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, which are all languages of past or current empires.
Among them, Arabic is the only holy language of some sacred scriptures. All other languages are vernaculars, meaning that they enjoy extensive speech communities with hundreds of millions of speakers who use them in everyday life.