Fragments of Arabic Poetry on Papyrus Questions of Textual Genesis, Attribution, and Representation

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Mark Muehlhaeusler

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Abstract




This article presents an edition of, and commentary on, a fragment of papyrus preserved in the collection of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah (P.Utah 280). This well-preserved piece is a rare example of Arabic papyrus with lines of poetry. The text of the verses and their attribution in the papyrus will be studied in detail and traced through later sources, leading to a discussion on textual variation and authorship as well as on the value of papyrological evidence vis-à-vis the corpus of classical Arabic literature. It will be shown that lineages of text and attribution can be highly complex and therefore do not lend themselves to linear representation, e.g., in book form or simple HTML format. The article outlines the requirements for alternative means of representation for textual layers and points to existing tools in Arabic studies and other disciplines.




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