The thousands of surviving inscriptions in Middle Aramaic (e.g., in the Nabataean, Syriac and Palmyrene dialects) are an underused resource in the study of the Near East in the Roman period, especially in the study of religion and law. Particularly important was the emergence during this period of new peoples with their cultural roots in Arabia, such as the Nabataeans. This volume collects together, under the interrelated themes of religion and law, twenty-three articles by John Healey, with sections on "Petra and Nabataean Aramaic", "Edessa and Early Syriac" and "Aramaic and Society in the Roman Near East". Individual papers discuss the continuation of "Ancient Near Eastern" culture, the Aramaic legal tradition as well as the development of both written and spoken forms of Syriac and Nabatean.
John Healey is Professor of Semitic Studies at the University of Manchester, UK.
Contents: Preface; Part I Petra and Nabataean Script: Nabataean inscriptions: language and script; Were the Nabataeans Arabs?; Nabataean to Arabic: calligraphy and script development among the pre-Islamic Arabs; Sources for the study of Nabataean Law; The Nabataeans and Mada'in Salih; A Nabataean sundial from Mada'in Salih; Jaussen-Savignac 17: the earliest dated Arabic document (A.D. 267), (with G. Rex Smith); Nabataeo-Arabic: Jaussen-Savignac nab. 17 and 18; A Nabataean papyrus fragment (Bodleian MS Heb. d. 89); 'Sicherheit des Auges': the contribution to Semitic epigraphy of the explorer Julius Euting (1839-1913). Part II Edessa and Early Syriac: The Edessan milieu and the birth of Syriac; The early history of the Syriac script: a reassessment; A new Syriac mosaic inscription; Lexical loans in early Syriac: a comparison with Nabataean Aramaic; Variety in early Syriac: the context in contemporary Aramaic; Some lexical and legal notes on a Syriac loan transfer of 240 CE. Part III Aramaic and Society in the Roman Near East: 'Romans always conquer'. Some evidence of ethnic identity on Rome's eastern frontier; New evidence for the Aramaic legal tradition: from Elephantine to Edessa; The writing on the wall: law in Aramaic epigraphy; 'May he be remembered for good': an Aramaic formula; Dushara as Sun-God; The kindly and merciful God: on some Semitic divine epithets; From Sapanu/Sapunu to Kasion: the sacred history of a mountain; Addenda and corrigenda; Index.