Petra: The Cultural Capital of the Arabic Script In The First Communication Revolution

             This book by Issam Mousa employs the historical critical communication theory to prove that   the Arabic script in use today by Arabs evolved from the Nabataean script of Petra in Jordan.

             Communication Scholars believe that the development of the alphabet is a cornerstone of the present civilization. This invention was marked by historians as the First Communication Revolution. Its outcome was the development of the Alphabet  in the Middle East 3500 years ago. The creation of 30 letters, or so that we use, whether we write in Arabic or Latin scripts,  was a genius work, and made it possible for people   to record their thoughts in easy-to-learn symbols.  Our present civilization thus becomes the outcome of that invention.
           Both Latin and Arabic alphabets, and thus scripts, are derived from the Canaanite-Phoenician alphabet, which represents a shared cultural heritage between the Middle East and the West.  The Greeks borrowed this alphabet from the Phoenicians. While the Arabs borrowed their alphabet from the same source, but scholars disagree on the origin of the Arabic script,    which has been used by Arabs, Persians, and other almost  15 nations during the past 15 centuries.

          However, most philologists suggest that the second-most-used alphabet in the world after Latin, i.e.   Arabic, has descended from the Nabataean, while few say that it descended from the Syriac.  Both Nabataean and Syriac are derived from the Phoenician script.

          The author, in this book, proves that the Arabic alphabet descended from the Nabataean. To him, the Nabataeans were a unique nation that became organized and were able to develop their political system into the first Arab Kingdom in history, which ruled for about five centuries, over a vast area in the Middle East, until 106 A.D. when Rome annexed them.           During these five centuries, the Nabataeans developed a   viable culture that blossomed in the unique antiquities left alive for us to enjoy, but with no recorded history. Their culture had to be reconstructed. Among other achievements, their inscriptions, which number over 4000, and their development over time, show beyond doubt that the Nabataeans   occupy a crucial  position in the First Communication Revolution. Islam in the seventh century A. D. adopted the Nabataean script, and spread it in the Islamic Empire.

          In brief, this work  by Issam Mousa attempts to reconstruct their history in the light of the critical communication theory, to prove that Petra is a   cultural capital for the Arabic alphabet. Scholars and tourists, alike,   should acknowledge, in his view, that Petra, the capital of the Arab Nabataean Kingdom, is the outcome of a unique culture, that was creative, in thought as well as in sculpture.