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Inscribing The Dead To Describe The Living: Reading Jewish Identity Through Funerary Language

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Chapter Summary

This chapter suggests that attention to language and script patterns in Jewish epitaphs permits more precise understandings of Jewish cultural identities in Roman North Africa. North African Jews manipulated elements within commemorative language in complex and varied ways to index complex and varied identities. The chapter facilitates the contextual interpretation and dissection of North African Jewish epigraphic language practices. It isolates regional trends in North African language to establish a general and diachronic framework for conventional language use in North Africa. The chapter compares Jewish epigraphic language use to that within locally conventional frameworks. It evaluates the degree to which some Jewish inscriptions entirely employ regional North African linguistic conventions, then addresses those texts that use language in ways completely different than regional tendency. Finally, it extensively evaluates a collection of Jewish inscriptions that combine language signs in more complicated ways than do those in the previous two categories.

Keywords:African commemorative convention; Jewish cultural identity; Jewish epitaph; Jewish language practice; North African Jewish inscription; Roman North Africa



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