[b-hebrew] Samek-Peh-Ayin ordering

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman joel at exc.com
Sun Apr 10 16:38:37 EDT 2005

>thanks George. I was hoping it might explain why Lamentations chapters 2,3,4
>have the same order: Samek Pe Ayin.

The Izbet Sartah abecedary, the oldest surviving example of written
Hebrew, contains as-yet deciphered text, and beneath that the aleph
bet, written from left to right.  But the aleph bet, like Lamentations
2-4, puts Pe before Ayin.  It looks like the ordering of Pe/Ayin was
not firmly set until later.  (The tablet also reverses Zion/Chet.)

The Izbet Sartah abecedary is discussed in detail in Volume 4 of the
1977 issue of the _Journal of the Tel Aviv University Institute of
Archaeology_, in two articles.  My latest book (_In the Beginning_
[NYU Press, 2004]) has a very brief summary.

-Joel Hoffman

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