[b-hebrew] Phoenician alphabet

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Jul 21 02:19:50 EDT 2003

Dear Walter:

There are a few weaknesses in your theory that, if false, could nullify the whole thing.

Back when I was an undergraduate, I read Dr. Samuel R. Külling’s dissertation “Zur Datierung der Genesis ‘P’ Stücke”. I don’t know how others have responded to his dissertation, but that it is a dissertation says that that already passed peer review before publishing. In it, he made the assertion that the division of Genesis into J, P, D and other sectors was based on the philosophic presuppositions of those who made those divisions. Most of the dissertation was taken up in quoting from books and articles as early as 1807, several by 1820 in French, German, Dutch and English, through Gesenius and so forth. The point of the quotations was that these theories were ideologically based, with minimal historical or linguistic support. The early writings were much more open than the later writings (even as early as 1870) in admitting the ideological basis of the theories.

One of the most basic of those presuppositions was a strict adherance to naturalism, the belief that a deity does not act into history. What if that presupposition is wrong? Many people don’t buy that presupposition, even many scholars. Dr. Külling’s thesis was that absent the philosophic presuppositions, there was insufficient linguistic evidence to aupport the theories.

As a poor college student, I read the book in a library, and do not have a copy of it.

As for proto-Sinaitic, there are sites on the web claiming that examples in that writing have been found at sites dating as late as 800 BC. Yet several of its glyphs are recognizably antecedent to paleo-Hebrew/Phoenician, a few almost identical. (As for unicode, it should be encoded by paleo-Hebrew/Phoenician because  it is identical to the latter, only the shapes are different.) As for earlier use of proto-Sinaitic in Canaan is consistent with the Biblical indication that Abraham, Isaak and other early Hebrews were literate.

How do you know that the Philistines spoke Aegean? The late Dr. Cyrus Gorden claimed that many of the people of the Aegean spoke semitic languages, that a decypherment of proto-Cretan (in Greek letters) and Linear A would probably be found in Semitic dialects.

How do you know that the dates you quote are correct? I read that even Egyptologists argue about dates, up to a couple of centuries in varience. With such disagreement, it is possible that Raamses II benefitted from his allaiance with Solomon, his sister or daughter married to Solomon only to lead an invasion a few years after Solomon’s death. His nickname was Sesi, very similar to the Hebrew $$Q.

As for evidence for your theory, I find it highly speculative without good linguistic evidence that I can recognize. But I appreciate the linguistic notes that you included.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph. 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Walter R. Mattfeld" <mattfeld12 at charter.net>

> Most Conservative scholars understand, based on 1 Kings 6:1 statement of 480
> years elapsing between the Exodus and Solomon's 4th year when he began
> building the Temple ca. 966 BCE, that the Exodus event was ca. 1446 BCE.
> The following questions must be addressed. If this "is" the date for the
> Exodus, and "IF" Conservatives are correct in assuming the Exodus was headed
> for SOUTHERN SINAI and presentday Gebel Musa, what evidence is there of
> "writing" in this area ca. 1446 BCE ?
> Archaeologists have identified TWO SCRIPTS in the Southern Sinai ca.1446
> BCE, Egyptian Hieroglyphic and Canaanite (so-called "Asiatic") popularly
> known as Proto-Sinaitic.
> Now Moses, allegedly being a "Prince" of Egypt, raised up in Pharaoh's
> household, might be expected to be able to read and write in Egyptian
> Hieroglyphics. Being a Hebrew, he may also have learned later the
> Proto-Sinaitic script. So, we have in the SOUTHERN Sinai TWO SCRIPTS, either
> of which Moses would have been conversant with according to the biblical
> story.
> Archaeologists have determined that the Proto-Sinaitic is attested for an
> earlier period of time, in Canaan about 19th-17th centuries BCE, it being
> found at several locations. So, they conclude that Proto-Sinaitic was not
> "invented" in the Sinai, it was invented in Canaan.
> Now, as to the original Query, "IS Phoenician script being _borrowed_ by
> Hebrew ?"
> Karl has rightly noted that the earliest inscriptions from Late Bronze Age
> times in the area we call Phoenicia, are NOT in an "Alphabetic script," they
> are in AKKADIAN CUNEIFORM, or Babylonian script, and date for the most part
> from the Amarna era and the world of the Pharaoh who honored the ONE GOD,
> the Aten, Pharaoh Akhenaten. The Akkadian script is also in use in Canaan,
> letters from the mayors of Canaan are using Akkadian as an international
> linga franca (whilst the script is Akkadian the words, however, reveal
> Canaanite dialects).
> <big snip>
> Regards, Walter
> Walter Reinhold Warttg Mattfeld, M.A. Ed.
> matfeld12 at charter.net
> www.bibleorigins.net
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