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Dr Estara J Arrant is a linguist of Semitic languages (with a special interest in language contact and dialectology of Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic in all periods), a data scientist specialising in machine learning and complex systems, and a scholar of medieval Jewish and Muslim textual and scriptural traditions (mainly of Hebrew Bible, Qur’ān, Arabic and Aramaic Bible translations, Tafsīr and Midrash). Currently a research associate in Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities, she is working on the ERC-funded project TEXTEVOLVE: A New Approach to the Evolution of Texts Based on the Manuscripts of the Targums. Her role in this project is to adapt bioinformatics algorithms used in evolutionary biology to analyse the textual evolution of medieval Targum manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as to create new digital tools to assist in the analysis of large, complex textual data from the Targum text traditions. Dr Arrant is also a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Trinity Hall, where she engages with fellow researchers and students to explore intersections between the Sciences and the Humanities.

Her PhD, titled, A Codicological and Linguistic Typology of Common Torah Codices from the Cairo Genizah, was completed at the University of Cambridge (Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Christ’s College), under the supervision of Professor Geoffrey Khan. Her thesis (and externally published case study) utilised machine learning algorithms, statistics, and database science to analyse the codicological and linguistic features of around 1,800 Torahs written by and for everyday people (including children) from the 10th-15th c. Middle East. Such methodology revealed the presence of distinct common book styles across the regions. She also found that the non-standard language features of these Bibles reflected a variety of external linguistic influences, showing evidence of imperfect performance, Arabicised phonology, and historical influence from Aramaic. She completed her MPhil in Islamic Studies and History at the University of Oxford (Worcester College, supervisor Prof. Nicolai Sinai), where she focused on the linguistic structure of Qur’ānic and pre-Islamic Jewish creation narratives. Her undergraduate studies were in History and Modern Hebrew. 


Recent publications:

PhD Thesis (Digitised):

Arrant, E. (2021). A Codicological and Linguistic Typology of Common Torah Codices from the Cairo Genizah (Doctoral thesis). Link:


(2020) Nick Posegay and Estara J Arrant. "Three Fragments of a Judaeo-Arabic Translation of Ecclesiastes with Full Tiberian Vocalisation."Intellectual History of the Islamicate World pp. 1–38, doi: 10.1163/2212943X-bja10001. Published as an advance article: 08 Dec. 2020.

(2020) Arrant, Estara J. ‘An Exploratory Typology of Near-Model and Non-Standard Tiberian Torah Manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah’. In Studies in Semitic Vocalization and Reading Traditions, edited by Aaron D. Hornkohl and Geoffrey Khan. Semitic Languages and Cultures. Cambridge: University of Cambridge & Open Book Publishers, pgs. 467-547.

(2019). Arrant, E. J. Standard Tiberian Pronunciation in a Non-Standard Form: T-S AS 64.206. [Genizah Research Unit, Fragment of the Month, April 2019].

(2018) Arrant, Estara J. 'The Structural and Linguistic Features of Three Hebrew Begging Letters from the Cairo Genizah', in Studies in Semitic Linguistics and Manuscripts: A Liber Discipulorum in Honour of Professor Geoffrey Khan, Studia Semitica Upsaliensia 30, 2018. pp. 352-375.

Blog Posts

(2021) Arrant, Estara J. 'Hastening after the Glimmer of Dawn: A Personal Judaeo-Arabic Translation of Ecclesiastes'. Biblia Arabica, ed. Prof. Ronny Vollandt. 09 March 2021.