Peter T. Daniels wrote:

> You would be hard pressed to find _any_ epigrapher or paleographer
> foolhardy enough to try to write -- let alone fluently! -- an
> inscription in a dead language.

In his book _Letterletter_, Gerrit Noordzij quotes JP Gumbert (p.11):

Palaeographers are a strange tribe. The subject
of their life's work is script -- no: for most of
them it is the text found in manuscripts, for others
the manuscripts themselves, and for a minority the
script; but all of them must know, and believe they
know, much about script; yet most of them know very
little about writing ... The cultural distance is
great; when a palaeographer and a 'writer' [I mean
'a maker of letters' -- should I call him a 'letterer'?]
look at the same page, they see incredibly different

Noordzij himself is a highly talented, experienced and thoughtful 'maker of letters'. His
book is sometimes infuriating, but he probably means it to be, taking provocation to be a
key element of education (he taught writing and type design for many years at the Royal
Academy in the Hague). His thesis as it relates to palaeography might be best summarised
thus: the only way to fully understand a script is to write it.

John Hudson


Tiro Typeworks
Vancouver, BC tiro@...

Currently reading:
Typespaces, by Peter Burnhill
White Mughals, by William Dalrymple
Hebrew manuscripts of the Middle Ages, by Colette Sirat