[b-hebrew] Samaritan script/proto-hebrew

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Mar 17 16:20:25 EST 2005

----- Original Message -----
From: "wattswestmaas" <wattswestmaas at eircom.net>
> To the point - My question:  The samaritan script? It surely must have
> the assyrian script as well?  Sice the people that were moved to Northern
> Israel at the time of its emptying of hebrews were from Assyria and
> right?  So they would have brought their writing with them? I have a
> document before me that gives the impression that the samaritans adopted
> old aramaic/proto hebrew - which seems totally absurd!
> Chris
Not at all. When the immigrants adopted Israelite scripture, they did it in
Israelite script. But that's a huge oversimplification, since the people who
became the Samaritans were a mix of Israelites who remained in Samaria and
"Assyrian" immigrants, and the process by which they developed their form of
Yahwism is not at all clear.
Besides which, by this time the Northwestern Semitic
(Canaanite/Phoenician/Hebrew/Aramaic) alphabet was fast becoming the most
common form of writing throughout the region, with Assyrian and Babylonian
cuneiform being limited to "formal" texts.
If there is anything strange about the Samaritan script, it is the fact that
they retained a form of stylized paleo-Hebrew script, at the same time in
which the Jews were adopting the "square" Aramean form.


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