Revelation 1:8, Alpha

David&Karen Beaulieu DKKC at
Wed Jan 8 13:09:59 EST 2003

Thanks, Trevor.  I guess I never really connected a specific picture to each
letter.  Is any of the original sense of the pictures retained in the single
letters now in Greek, or at the time of the NT writing?   When the Lord used
"ALPHA" would the further sense of "ox" or "leader" have been conveyed, or
would it have been more of a symbolic capturing of a simple (or surface) "A
to Z" type of metaphor?
               Karen W. Beaulieu
               New Hampshire

----- Original Message -----
From: "Trevor Peterson" <06PETERSON at>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at>
Sent: Wednesday, January 08, 2003 12:40 PM
Subject: [b-greek] RE: Revelation 1:8, Alpha

> >===== Original Message From David&Karen Beaulieu <DKKC at> =====
> >I have been studying Revelation 1:8 and looking specifically at the word
> >"Alpha."  Interestingly, the OED traces the origin of the word to the
> >Phoenician "aleph," which originally came from a heiroglyph of an ox's
> >I have not seen this history elsewhere, and wondered if you had any
> >information regarding the origins and meaning of the word "alpha."  Does
> >heiroglyph pre-date the alphabetic letter itself (if that makes
> That would be the idea. And of course, the form of the Greek letter has
> changed quite a bit. I think I remember seeing a Web site one time that
> early pictograms morphing into letters, but I don't remember where now.
> writing systems seem in one way or another to have developed from early
> pictures. Over time, there was greater need to write quickly than to
> the pictorial quality, so the shapes are generally quite different.
> >I
> >didn't see a similar kind of history for the word "omega."
> It's my understanding that omega just means "big O." (Mega, as in
> vs. omicron--micro, pretty obvious.) Because Greek represents vowels with
> letters, whereas Phoenician and other West Semitic languages use only
> consonants, the names don't always line up. But it's probably easier to
> the origins of letter names in Hebrew (same writing system as Phoenician).
> Alpha     Alef     ox
> Beta     Bet     house
> etc.
> Trevor Peterson
> CUA/Semitics
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