[b-hebrew] Ktiva & Kria

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sat Nov 3 15:05:06 EDT 2007

Dear Edward,

Without getting into your theory, which I have not studied enough to agree 
or disagree with, I wish to comment on the following paragraph of your post:

> (4) The identification of letters of the Hebrew alphabet with numbers
> is very old, going back to pre-Davidic period: just look at the series
> of David's psalms which are alphabetic acrostics; by the way, the word
> "acrostic" being of Greek origins, it does not mean that the Greeks
> invented this poetical genre.
> Thanks a lot,
> Edward

1. While the basic order of the letters (with some variations) seems to go 
back to the very origins of the alphabet, way back in Middle Bronze Age 
Canaan (or maybe Canaanites in Egypt), the actual assignment of numbers for 
each letter (what became known as "gematria" in Jewish circles) is not 
attested in pre-Hellenistic times and seems to have been borrowed from 
Greek. The fact that various Psalm and other biblical passages were written 
as acrostics has nothing to do with the assignment of numbers.

2. Most modern scholars would argue that many of "David's Psalms" are 
actually pseudoepigraphic, but I'm not going to get into a debate on the 

3. Please sign your posts with your full name.

Yigal Levin 

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