Sunday, January 6, 2013

Was the Torah written in Hebrew ? or Proto-Sinaitic ?

In learning about the oldest fragments of the Hebrew Bible, known as Torah, the First 5 books, I have gone back further and further in time until I finally got to 15 Billion years old, actually before Time ..... How is this possible ? Well, according to some Traditions the Torah was the blueprint for Creation. God used the letters of the Hebrew Aleph-bet and the Word of Torah to create the Universe. OK. Since I don't know of any other records that were created around 15 Billion years ago I need to start from today and work my way back.

So I begin my search with the earliest example of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet. For example what do we have from Archaeology ? According to most linguists Hebrew descends from a type of Aramaic, and Aramaic descends or is an offshoot of Phoenician, which could be the same as the Canaanite language, or some combination of what is called Proto-Sinaitic language.... A simplified or modified Egyptian.

There are examples of a very crude proto-Hebrew script found in the Turqouise Mines of Egypt that have been dated to roughly 2,000 BC. That would mean a type of Hebrew writing that existed almost 1,000 years before Moses, and probably around the same time that Abraham lived. So, who were the people that wrote these early pre-Hebrew words ? According to Several Linguists they were Canaanites. Trades People working in Egypt 1,000 years before the Exodus.

As the alphabetic script wandered with Canaanite caravans, it retained its pictorial forms for hundreds of years. People learned the letters from one another orally. For this kind of use, the pictorial nature of the signs was very important. It was easy to learn the alphabet simply by memorizing the pictures. The first sound of the picture was the letter. To remember the alphabet, all one had to do was memorize the pictures. The rest followed from that: The ―name‖ of the letter leads one to a picture, which helps to recreate the form of the letter: In the margin at right you can see the ox-shaped head of the letter aleph, the box-shaped house (bêt) for ―B,‖ the hand-like kaf for ―K,‖ wavy lines representing mayim (―water‖) or ―M,‖ the snake-like naḥash for ―N,‖ the eye for „ayin and the head (rosh) for ―R.

Read more here : The Origins of the Aleph-Bet -- BAR (Biblical Archaeology Review) 36:02, Mar/Apr 2010 How the Alphabet Was Born from Hieroglyphs By Orly Goldwasser

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