Like archaeology, etymology is a «high risk» enterprise—when you start digging you never know what you will unearth from the hidden layers of the soil of history. In regions like the Middle East, the findings easily may become explosives.
This lecture/seminar dares to take a deeper look into the seemingly unsuspicious Arabic root عرب cRB, underlying the «Arabs» (carab) and the notorious icrāb (which makes the Arabs’ language into «real» Arabic). But these are only two out of a dazzling variety of meanings attached to the root. Some people even derive the name «Europe» from cRB, while others connect it to cBR, whence the name «Hebrew» (cibrī)… So, are Arabs, Hebrews, and Europeans all essientially one?
Stephan Guth is professor of Arabic at IKOS since 2007. One of his current research projects is the establishment of an Etymological Dictionary of the Arabic Language.