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PaleoHebrewalphabetWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

PaleoHebrewalphabet
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

ThePaleoHebrewalphabet(Hebrew:

)isanabjadvariantofthe
Phoenicianalphabet.Itdatestoaroundthe10th
centuryBCE.Itwasusedasthemainvehicle
forwritingtheHebrewlanguagebythe
Israelites,whowouldlatersplitintoJewsand
Samaritans.
ItbegantofalloutofusebytheJewsinthe5th
centuryBCEwhentheyadoptedtheAramaic
alphabetastheirwritingsystemforHebrew,
fromwhichthepresentJewish"squarescript"
Hebrewalphabetdescends.TheSamaritans,
whonownumberlessthanonethousand
people,continuetouseaderivativeoftheOld
Hebrewalphabet,knownastheSamaritan
alphabet.

Contents

PaleoHebrewalphabet

Type

Abjad

Languages Hebrew
Time
period

10thcenturyBCE135CE

Parent
systems

Egyptianhieroglyphs

Unicode
range

U+10900U+1091F
(http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U10900.pdf)

ProtoSinaiticalphabet
Phoenicianalphabet
PaleoHebrewalphabet

1Letters
2Origins
3Furtherdevelopment
4Declineofuse
5UsebySamaritans
6AccordingtotheBabylonianTalmud
7CurrentuseinSacredNameBibles
8Unicode
9Seealso
10Notes
11References
12Externallinks

Letters
Hebrewletter PaleoHebrewletter EnglishName
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Aleph

Bet

Gimel

Dalet

He

Waw

Zayin

Heth

Teth

Yodh

Kaph

Lamedh

Mem

Nun

Samekh

Ayin

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Pe

Tsade

Qoph

Resh

Shin

Taw

Origins
TheearliestknowninscriptioninthePaleoHebrew
alphabetwasdiscoveredonthestoneonawallatTel
Zayit,intheBethGuvrinValleyinthelowlandsof
ancientJudea.The22letterswerecarvedononesideof
the38lbstone(17kg)whichresemblesabowlonthe
other.NextwouldbetheGezercalendardatedtothe
late10thcenturyBCE.ThescriptoftheGezercalendar
bearsstrongresemblancetocontemporaneous
PhoenicianscriptfrominscriptionsatByblos.Clear
HebrewfeaturesarevisibleinthescriptsoftheMoabite
inscriptionsoftheMeshaStele.The8thcentury
DrawingofinscriptionontheZayitStone.
Hebrewinscriptionsexhibitmanyspecificand
exclusivetraits,leadingmodernscholarstoconclude
thatalreadyinthe10thcenturyBCEthePaleoHebrewalphabetwasusedbywidescribalcircles.Even
thoughveryfew10thcenturyHebrewinscriptionshavebeenfound,thequantityoftheepigraphicmaterial
fromthe8thcenturyonwardshowsthegradualspreadofliteracyamongthepeopleoftheKingdomof
IsraelandtheKingdomofJudah.
In1855aPhoenicianinscriptionintwentytwolineswasfoundamongtheruinsofSidon.Eachline
containedaboutfortyorfiftycharacters.AfacsimilecopyofthewritingwaspublishedinUnitedStates
MagazineinJuly1855.TheinscriptionwasonthelidofalargestonesarcophaguscarvedinfineEgyptian
style.ThewritingwasprimarilyagenealogicalhistoryofakingofSidonburiedinthesarcophagus.[1]

Furtherdevelopment
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TheindependentHebrewscriptevolvedbydevelopingnumerouscursivefeatures,thelapidaryfeaturesof
thePhoenicianalphabetbeingeverlesspronouncedwiththepassageoftime.Theaversionofthelapidary
scriptmayindicatethatthecustomoferectingstelaebythekingsandofferingvotiveinscriptionstothe
deitywasnotwidespreadinIsrael.Eventheengravedinscriptionsfromthe8thcenturyexhibitelementsof
thecursivestyle,suchastheshading,whichisanaturalfeatureofpenandinkwriting.Examplesofsuch
inscriptionsincludetheSiloaminscription,numeroustombinscriptionsfromJerusalem,theKetefHinnom
amulets,afragmentaryHebrewinscriptiononanivorywhichwastakenaswarspoils(probablyfrom
Samaria)toNimrud,andthehundredsof8thto6thcenturyHebrewsealsfromvarioussites.Themost
developedcursivescriptisfoundonthe18Lachishostraca,letterssentbyanofficertothegovernorof
LachishjustbeforethedestructionoftheFirstTemplein586BCE.(cf.theMesadHashavyahupetitionfor
favorablejudgment.)

Declineofuse
AftertheBabyloniancaptureofJudea,whenmostofthenobles
weretakenintoexile,thePaleoHebrewalphabetcontinuedtobe
usedbythepeoplewhoremained.Oneexampleofsuchwritingsare
the6thcenturyBCEjarhandlesfromGibeon,onwhichthenames
ofwinegrowersareinscribed.Beginningfromthe5thcenturyBCE
onward,whentheAramaiclanguageandscriptbecameanofficial
meansofcommunication,thePaleoHebrewalphabetwaspreserved
CoinfromBarKokhbaRevolt
mainlyforwritingtheTanakhbyacoterieoferuditescribes.Some
demonstratingthePaleoHebrew
PaleoHebrewfragmentsoftheTorahwerefoundamongtheDead
alphabet
SeaScrolls:manuscripts4Q12,6Q1:Genesis.4Q22:Exodus.1Q3,
2Q5,4Q11,4Q45,4Q46,6Q2:Leviticus.[2]InsomeQumran
documents,YHWHiswritteninPaleoHebrewwhiletherestofthetextisinAramaicsquarescript.[3]The
vastmajorityoftheHasmoneancoinage,aswellasthecoinsoftheFirstJewishRomanWarandBar
Kokhba'srevolt,bearsPaleoHebrewlegends.ThePaleoHebrewalphabetfellcompletelyoutofuseonly
after135CE.

UsebySamaritans
SometimeinthelasttwocenturiesBCEtheSamaritanalphabetbegantodivergefromtheJewishone.
UnliketheJews,theSamaritanshavecontinuedtousethisscriptforwritingbothHebrewandAramaic
textsuntilthepresentday.AcomparisonoftheearliestSamaritaninscriptionsandthemedievaland
modernSamaritanmanuscriptsclearlyindicatesthattheSamaritanscriptisastaticscriptwhichwasused
mainlyasabookhand.

AccordingtotheBabylonianTalmud
TheTalmudicsagesdidnotshareauniformstanceonthesubjectofPaleoHebrew.SomestatedthatPaleo
HebrewwastheoriginalscriptusedbytheIsraelitesatthetimeoftheExodus,[4]whileothersbelievedthat
PaleoHebrewmerelyservedasastopgapinatimewhentheoriginalscript(TheAssyrianScript)was

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lost.[5]Accordingtobothopinions,EzratheScribe(c.500BCE)introduced,orreintroducedtheAssyrian
scripttobeusedastheprimaryAlphabetfortheHebrewlanguage.[6]Theargumentsgivenforboth
opinionsarerootedinJewishscriptureand/ortradition.
Athirdopinion[7]intheTalmudstatesthatthescriptneverchangedaltogether.Itwouldseemthatthesage
whoexpressedthisopiniondidnotbelievethatPaleoHebreweverexisted,despitethestrongarguments
supportingit.Hisstanceisrootedinascripturalverse,[8]whichmakesreferencetotheshapeoftheletter
vav.Thesagearguesfurtherthat,giventhecommandmenttocopyaTorahscrolldirectlyfromanother,the
scriptcouldnotconceivablyhavebeenmodifiedatanypoint.Thisthirdopinionwasacceptedbysome
earlyJewishscholars,[9]andrejectedbyothers,partiallybecauseitwaspermittedtowritetheTorahin
Greek.[10]

CurrentuseinSacredNameBibles
ThePaleoHebrewscripthasbeenrecentlyrevivedforspecificuseinseveralSacredNameBibles:
includingZikarownSayfer,TheBesorahandtheHalleluyahScriptures.Thesetranslationsuseitfor
writingtheTetragrammatonandotherdivinenames,incorporatingthesenameswritteninthisscriptinthe
midstoftheEnglishtext.

Unicode
ThePaleoHebrewalphabetwasunifiedwiththePhoenicianalphabetandaddedtotheUnicodeStandardin
July,2006withthereleaseofversion5.0.
TheUnicodeblockforPaleoHebrew,calledPhoenician,isU+10900U+1091F.Itisintendedforthe
representationoftextinPalaeoHebrew,ArchaicPhoenician,Phoenician,EarlyAramaic,LatePhoenician
cursive,Phoenicianpapyri,SiloamHebrew,Hebrewseals,Ammonite,Moabite,andPunic.
Phoenician[1][2]
OfficialUnicodeConsortiumcodechart(http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U10900.pdf)(PDF)

U+1090x
U+1091x
Notes
1.^AsofUnicodeversion7.0
2.^Greyareasindicatenonassignedcodepoints

Seealso
ProtoCanaanitealphabet
HistoryoftheHebrewlanguage
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Notes
1. ^TheNewlyDiscoveredPhoenicianInscription,NewYorkTimes,June15,1855,pg.4.
2. ^http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/explorethearchive/image/B298934
3. ^e.g.File:Psalms_Scroll.jpg
4. ^Sanhedrin21
5. ^Megila3,Shabbat104
6. ^Sanhedrin21
7. ^Sanhedrin22
8. ^Exodus27,10
9. ^RabbeinuChananelSanhedrin22
10. ^"MishneTorahHilchosStam1:19"(http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/925417/jewish/Chapter
One.htm).|first1=missing|last1=inAuthorslist(help)

References
"Alphabet,Hebrew".EncyclopaediaJudaica(CDROMEditionVersion1.0).Ed.CecilRoth.Keter
PublishingHouse.ISBN9650706658

Externallinks
JewishEncyclopedia:TheHebrewAlphabet(http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?
artid=1308&letter=A&search=Alphabet)
omniglot.com:Aramaic/ProtoHebrewalphabet(http://www.omniglot.com/writing/aramaic.htm)
AncientHebrewalphabets(http://www.jerusaleminsidersguide.com/ancienthebrewalphabet.html)
TheAlphabetofBiblicalHebrew(http://biblescripture.net/Hebrew.html)
'OldestHebrewalphabet'isfound(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4422628.stm)
Retrievedfrom"http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=PaleoHebrew_alphabet&oldid=637595500"
Categories: Abjadwritingsystems Hebrewalphabet Semiticwritingsystems
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