Language Challenges in Genealogy
Vicki’s note – How would you like to do genealogy research in this library? Not only are the books in lost languages, but there are several books written over each other on each page.
From Online Smithsonian magazine Sept. 5, 2017 article by Brigit Katz: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-lost-languages-found-manuscripts-egyptian-monastery-180964698/
Lost Languages Discovered in One of the World’s Oldest Continuously Run Libraries
The centuries-old texts were erased, and then written over, by monks at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt
“Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there—some of which contain hidden treasures.
Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that were erased and written over by the monks who lived and worked at the monastery. Many of these original texts were written in languages well known to researchers—Latin, Greek, Arabic—but others were inscribed in long-lost languages that are rarely seen in the historical record.”…
“…Other hidden texts were written in a defunct dialect known as Christian Palestinian Aramaic, a mix of Syriac and Greek, which was discontinued in the 13th century only to be rediscovered by scholars in the 18th century. “This was an entire community of people who had a literature, art, and spirituality,” Phelps tells Gray. “Almost all of that has been lost, yet their cultural DNA exists in our culture today. These palimpsest texts are giving them a voice again and letting us learn about how they contributed to who we are today….”
Brigit Katz is a journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, Flavorwire, and Women in the World, a property of The New York Times.
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