[b-hebrew] Proto-Semitic, was WAYYIQTOL
kwrandolph at email.com
Tue Mar 16 19:11:08 EST 2004
It is exactly your last question that makes
me doubt that ancient Hebrews adopted the
Phoenician alphabet. It is also the reason
I doubt that Biblical Hebrew had the number
of phones that the Masoretes recognized
over a thousand years later.
If proto-Canaanite had 30 characters, why
would they adopt an alphabet with fewer
characters unless it was brought in from
outside, as was the Hebrew writing?
As for the date of Hebrew writing, the
probability of finding early inscriptions
is about nil, if the historical record is
accurate: consistently writing is listed as
being in books, and the only large,
exterior script was painted (Joshua 8:30–35
as ordered in Deuteronomy 27:1–10). What is
the probability that any of that painted
writing surviving to today?
Finally, when the historical sources
indicate that the ancient Hebrews possessed
rather extensive writings before they came
in contact with the Phoenicians, why would
they adopt a different alphabet than that
they were already using? (This does not
rule out adopting a new set of glyphs to
represent their alphabet, as was done about
2000 years ago.)
Karl W. Randolph.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
> But an interesting one. What makes you think that "Phoenician and Aramaic
> adopted the 22 character Hebrew alphabet"? Didn't Aramaic and Hebrew adopt
> the Canaanite/Phoenician alphabet? The question is, how and why an approx.
> 30 letter "proto-Canaanite alphabet (not to mention a 30 letter Ugaritic
> alphabet) get cut down to 22 letters? "Hebrew" obviously retained the
> differnt pronounciations of (Ayin and Ghayin, Shin and Sin and probably
> more, but the alphabet the adopted didn;t have enough characters. Why didn't
> they "invent" some of their own?
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