Caravan: The Story of the Middle East

Caravan: The Story of the Middle East

Caravan: The Story of the Middle East

Caravan: The Story of the Middle East

Excerpt

No man could hope to draw together the various fields from which the materials of this book are derived if he were a scholar in any one of them. No one could feel less scholarly than I do. This becomes particularly evident when the subject of Arabic transliteration arises, as it always does in forewords to books on the Middle East. I have before me the handiwork of Hitti, Gibb, and Calverley, three men whose erudition and integrity are of the highest order, and yet I cannot find complete agreement among them. Take the word for judge. Hitti spells it qāḍi, Gibb ḳāḍī, and Calverley qāḍī. At this point the lay reader may exclaim, "So what?"--but the lay reader does not review these books. To the myopic dotter of i's and crosser of t's, a dot under a consonant or a macron over a vowel are matters of utmost importance. The presence or absence of a dot under the k will distinguish between the word for "heart" and that for dog. Only a heartless dog would countenance such confusion.

To avoid it I sought the aid of a most kindly and scholarly gentleman who has much more to offer than spelling: Dr. E. E. Calverley of the Hartford Seminary Foundation, editor of the Muslim World, a man of profound erudition and wisdom, as well as long editorial experience. He read the manuscript from beginning to end. His polite but firmly expressed corrections appeared on many pages, and not one of them has been ignored. He has grasped my arm on the brink of many a pitfall, theological and historical as well as orthographic. If despite his efforts I may be shown to have fallen in here and there, please be assured that I have not drawn him with me. For a scholar of his stature to have had the grace to bother with this work places him beyond the level of possible contamination.

Three other readers from outside my immediate academic neighborhood have helped me. Professor H. A. R. Gibb, the dean of British Islamicists, who read the manuscript after Dr. Calverley, picked up a number of remaining points about which he had special knowledge. Dr. George Cameron, chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, read Chapters One through Five at an early stage and set me right on many a controversial point . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.