[b-hebrew] dating of matres lectionis

Bearpecs at aol.com Bearpecs at aol.com
Mon Jul 25 23:35:03 EDT 2005

According to Cross & Freedman, _Early Hebrew Orthography: A Study of  the 
Epigraphic Evidence_, pp. 46-48:
The Gezer Calendar (c. 925) does not use them.  (The waw in YRXW is  not a 
mater lectionis, but is to be understood phonetically as "ew" (contraction  of 
"ehu", and the word translated "his two months".)
The Shemaiah Seal (9th century) has the word LSM(YHW "belonging to  
Shemaiah":  "The final vowel u is represented by the vowel letter  waw.  If the dating 
of this seal is correct, this is the first instance of  a mater lectionis in 
Hebrew orthography."  They also note: "The fact that a  full system of matres 
lectionis was employed in the Me$a` Inscription from the  middle of the 9th 
century, suggests strongly that they were being used in Israel  at the same time."

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