ʾUṣṣit il-Gumguma or 'The Story of the Skull'
Olav G. Ørum, University of Oslo
In ᵓUṣṣit il-Gumguma Olav G. Ørum translates and analyzes three parallel 19th-century Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts from Egypt. These manuscripts present a story (whose earliest version is attributed to Kaᶜb al-ᵓAḥbār) about Jesus reviving the skull of a deceased king. The skull narrates his encounter with the Angel of Death, a painful purgatory and descension to hell.
The manuscripts reveal a wide spectrum of interesting written and spoken Egyptian Judaeo-Arabic variety features in which Ørum pays special attention to signs of linguistic divergence from the standardized written (fuṣḥā) and spoken (ᶜāmmiyya) variety. The unique sociolinguistic situation of the Jewish Egyptian community makes this book an important contribution to those working on Judaeo-Arabic in general, but also for students or scholars interested in Egyptian Arabic historical dialectology and sociolinguistics.