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The Riddle of the Syriac Double Dot


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#1 Kay

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:40 AM

The Riddle of the Syriac Double Dot: The World's Earliest Question Mark

July 22, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) - Cambridge University manuscript specialist, Dr. Chip Coakley has identified what may be the world’s earliest example of a question mark. The symbol in question is two dots, one above the other, similar in appearance to a colon, rather than the familiar squiggle of the modern question mark. The double dot symbol appears in Syriac manuscripts of the Bible dating back to the fifth century.

Syriac is a language of the Middle East with a large Christian literature and its golden age was in the centuries before the rise of Islam. Syriac studies are blessed by the survival of a collection of very early manuscripts, the remnants of one derelict monastery library. In the 1840s, the British Museum stumped up almost £5000 to buy them, and scholars have lived off this purchase ever since.


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"seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" Matthew 6:33




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