[b-hebrew] Tel Zayit Abecedary

Kevin Riley klriley at alphalink.com.au
Wed Nov 9 18:01:18 EST 2005


I think the article contains a few badly written sentences.  Someone brought
up about all the alphabets being descended from the one found.  Presumably
what is meant is that all the alphabets descend from the 'Phoenician'
alphabet, of which this is the earliest reliably dated example.  Even that
may not be entirely what is meant as there are abecedary from Sinai and
Ugarit that definitely predate this one, even if their dating is not so
exact.  On the point of the 'drinking vessel' I believe what is meant is
that this stone vessel held the drink and it would have been removed and
drunk in smaller containers.  It was the punch bowl rather than the cup, if
you like.

While on alphabets, I discovered that the Ugaritic alphabet existed in two
forms - the 27 letter form used in Ugarit and a 22 letter form used outside
the town but within Ugaritic controlled territory.  Abecdaries exist in both
from memory in the 22 letter form.  It is also interesting that while most
of the 27 letter forms follow the NW Semitic order - including both pe ayin
and ayin pe orders - there are also a couple in the South Semitic order. 
Whether that indicates north Syria/Canaan as the source of both, or an area
where both were borrowed I guess is up for discussion as we don't have the
evidence for either.  It does suggest a 22 letter alphabet was considered
adequate by at least the C12th BC for some dialects.

Kevin Riley
 
-------Original Message-------
 
From: Read, James C
Date: 11/10/05 05:50:31
To: Dave Washburn; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Tel Zayit Abecedary
 
 
Maybe it was for the nephilim?;-)
-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org on behalf of Dave Washburn
Sent: Wed 11/9/2005 4:53 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Tel Zayit Abecedary
 
On Wednesday 09 November 2005 05:15, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> The New York times relates on a Tel Zayit inscription recently found.
>
> http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/09/international/middleeast/09alphabet.html
 
I found this paragraph curious:
 
--
The two lines of incised letters, apparently the 22 symbols of the Hebrew
alphabet, were on one face of the 40-pound stone. A bowl-shaped hollow was
carved in the other side, suggesting that the stone had been a drinking
vessel for cult rituals, Dr. Tappy said. The stone, he added, may have been
embedded in the wall because of a belief in the alphabet's power to ward off
evil.
--
 
Putting aside for a moment the notion about the power of the alphabet, I
have
to ask: a 40 pound drinking vessel?
 
--
Dave Washburn
http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
"Maybe I'll trade it for a new hat."
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