Assyrian Hebrew?

Henry Churchyard churchyh at
Sun Aug 8 00:58:17 EDT 1999

Yes, the original, linguistically reconstructed, theoretical
proto-Semitic form of the word for "peace" has a long a-vowel in the
second syllable (as in Arabic salaam), but the shift of the long
a-vowel in this syllable to a long o-vowel has nothing whatever to do
with Assyrian influence.  This shift occurred in various languages of
the "Canaanite" linguistic sub-group (Phoenician, Hebrew, etc.)
sometime in the second millennium B.C., long before the Assyrian
conquest of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) -- and this sound change
does _not_ in fact occur in the Assyrian language.

I knew I would probably be sorry if I downloaded the .GIF, but
curiosity won out over discretion and I did it anyway -- and all I
found was a late form of the "Paleo-Hebrew" alphabet, accompanied by
an utterly corrupt and almost incomprehensible gibberish
transliteration scheme.

But I can tell you how the word "Assyrian" actually has some remote
shadow of relevance in all this -- it comes from the fact that the
early Rabbis sometimes termed the Aramaic (or "square") alphabet as
the "Assyrian" alphabet.  But in this context the term "Assyrian" is
merely equivalent to "Aramaic" -- there is no reference here to the
non-Aramaic (Akkadian) language which is called "Assyrian" in modern
scholarship.  Furthermore the "Assyrian" alphabet replaced the
"Paleo-Hebrew" alphabet a number of centuries _after_ the Assyrians
conquered the Northern Kingdom (Israel), long after the Assyrians were
no longer a political/military power.

Also, the Proto-Semitic theoretical reconstructed language and the
"Paleo-Hebrew" alphabet don't particularly have anything to do with
each other.

P.S. You actually shouldn't send attachments, especially not binary
attachments, to this list.

Henry Churchyard   churchyh at

> Subject: Assyrian Hebrew?
> From: <gs02wmr at panther.Gsu.EDU>
> Date: Sat, 7 Aug 1999 18:53:54 -0400 (EDT)

> I was perusing a web page of a local cult in my area, and on one of
> their pages they make the claim that the word "Shalom" is really
> suppoed to be "Shalam." Their logic is as follows:

> ------------------------------------- The word SHALAM means peace.
> The reason why we spell the word SHALAM with an "A" instead of an
> "O" (SHALOM), is because when you look at the Hebrew alphabet there
> is no "O".  The using of the letter "O" is incorrect!  This is how
> the word is written in the Ancient Hebrew(Shalam), and in the
> Assyrian Hebrew(ShAlAm).  The Hebrew Israelites spoke and wrote in
> the ancient Hebrew dialect.  The reason why so many of our records
> today are written in the Assyrian Hebrew, is due to, when we were in
> captivity under the Assyrian Empire.  Read II Kings Chapter 17,
> verse 23 says, "Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as
> he had said by all his servants the prophets.  So was Israel carried
> away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day." In the process
> of time, as we were held captives by the Assyrians (for
> approximately 200 years), we began to speak and write in a different
> form/dialect of the ancient Hebrew language."
> -------------------------------------

> They give us 2 pictures, HEBREW1.GIF is supposed to be the original
> Biblical Hebrew alphabet, and HEBREW2.GIF is the "false" Assyrian
> Hebrew alphabet.  So according to their logic, are they correct? Is
> the word "Shalom" really supposed to be pronounced "Shalam" ?

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