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You want old, I got old. 10th Century BCE

by Ziks511 / November 9, 2005 4:39 PM PST

A Is for Ancient, Describing an Alphabet Found Near Jerusalem

New York Times, Published: November 9, 2005

In the 10th century B.C., in the hill country south of Jerusalem, a scribe carved his A B C's on a limestone boulder - actually, his aleph-beth-gimel's, for the string of letters appears to be an early rendering of the emergent Hebrew alphabet.

Letters on a stone found near Tel Zayit resemble Phoenician.
Archaeologists digging in July at the site, Tel Zayit, found the inscribed stone in the wall of an ancient building. After an analysis of the layers of ruins, the discoverers concluded that this was the earliest known specimen of the Hebrew alphabet and an important benchmark in the history of writing, they said this week.

If they are right, the stone bears the oldest reliably dated example of an abecedary - the letters of the alphabet written out in their traditional sequence. Several scholars who have examined the inscription tend to support that view.

Experts in ancient writing said the find showed that at this stage the Hebrew alphabet was still in transition from its Phoenician roots, but recognizably Hebrew. The Phoenicians lived on the coast north of Israel, in today's Lebanon, and are considered the originators of alphabetic writing, several centuries earlier.

The discovery of the stone will be reported in detail next week in Philadelphia, but was described in interviews with Ron E. Tappy, the archaeologist at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary who directed the dig.

"All successive alphabets in the ancient world, including the Greek one, derive from this ancestor at Tel Zayit," he said.

From the New York Times. Usual login and password.

This is the kind of thing that really gets my motor running. 12,000 years ago and yet connected to the alphabets we all use today. Amazing.

And I don't think the Sumerians had even had a chance to invent accounting yet.

Question: If we get an even worse Hurricane season than this last one, and they use up all the Greek alphabet, do they then go to the Hebrew alphabet as backup?


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Answer: you better hope not
by jonah jones / November 9, 2005 7:01 PM PST

Question: If we get an even worse Hurricane season than this last one, and they use up all the Greek alphabet, do they then go to the Hebrew alphabet as backup?

we only have 22 letters, and the 10th is a rude one Happy


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The Greek alphabet has only 24 letters including
by Ziks511 / November 10, 2005 5:39 AM PST

Phoenecian/Hebrew consonants co-opted to become vowels. And there may be some that the authorities may want to avoid for some reason or another.

Of course the concept of more than 50 hurricanes in a season is a fearsome one and not to be thought on.

Hope all is well in the land of milk and honey.


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milk is expensive, honey is yummy
by jonah jones / November 10, 2005 11:26 AM PST

"i eat my peas with honey,
i've done it all my life.
it makes the peas taste funny,
but it keeps them on the knife"....


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Got another site, with excerpts and commentary:
by drpruner / November 10, 2005 7:55 AM PST
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Thanks very much Doug. always a gentleman.
by Ziks511 / November 12, 2005 6:02 PM PST

Bookmarked. I've just posted a couple of books that might interest you and Dr. Bill. Both your names are in the header.


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