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Caravan - The Story of Middle East
– November 4, 2008
CARAVAN: THE STORY Of THE MIDDLE EAST by CARLETON S. COON. FOREWORD: 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 qadi, Gibb adlf and Calverley qadl. 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 gentle man 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 ortho graphic. 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. ....
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