Skip to comments.What's the Oldest Hebrew Inscription?
Posted on 05/28/2012 9:24:09 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Four contenders vie for the honor of the oldest Hebrew inscription. To decide we must determine (1) whether they are in Hebrew script and/or language and (2) when they date. Not easy!
The first contender, the already famous Qeiyafa Ostracon, was discovered only in 2008 at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a site in the borderland of ancient Judah and Philistia.a The five-line ostracon (an ink inscription on a piece of broken pottery) is not well preserved and is subject to varying readings.
As the Qeiyafa Ostracon is a recent find, so the Gezer Calendar is an old one. It was discovered exactly a hundred years earlier, in 1908, by Irish archaeologist R.A.S. Macalister at Tel Gezer, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It describes agricultural activities over a 12-month period. Inscribed on a piece of soft limestone, it is sometimes supposed to be a schoolboy's ditty.
(Excerpt) Read more at bib-arch.org ...
With faded ink and missing letters, the Qeiyafa Ostracon is a five-line text on a 6-by-6-inch piece of broken pottery. It is written in Early Alphabetic script, prior to the development of Phoenician script from which Hebrew script was derived. [Photo by Clara Amit, Courtesy Yosef Garfinkel]
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Here's an article about one of the four candidates:
“In God we trust, all others pay cash”.
It actually says “Pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels—bring home for Emma”
“Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”
the Qeiyafa Ostracon seems to be, by consensus, the oldest document written in a Hebrew alphabet. From the little I can discern from the writing, the text appears to be written in the Proto-K’na’anite script which was a forerunner of the Proto-Sinai and K’tav Ivri scipts, the latter of which was used throughout the First Temple Period.
However, recent findings - not widely published, perhaps for political reasons - have been made along the newly documented exodus route in today’s Saudi Arabia, among which are an engraving of God’s name, Yahweh, written in Thamudic, which is very closely related to Proto-K’na’anite. Not far from this engraving are others of Israelite symbols, including the Menorah, conclusively proving that the engravings were written by Israelites.
So, an interesting point concerning this matter is what exactly is meant by a Hebrew inscription: is it one written by Hebrews in some kind of alphabet, or is it one written by Hebrews in the fist exclusively Hebrew alphabet?
“There is an old Hebrew book parts of which were found with the Dead Sea Scrolls that said that one of Adam’s sons invented the early Hebrew characters.”
If you believe the above, you might as well believe the idiotic claim made by some rabbis that God invented the Aramaic alphabet Ashurit) for the Jews.
I would think the latter, but that's a very good question. Of the two, which would you say is the archaeologists' primary focus?
"There is an old Hebrew book parts of which were found with the Dead Sea Scrolls that said that one of Adam's sons invented the early Hebrew characters."I didn't say it, write it, post it, or believe it.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN?
Is there a prize for the right answer?
Number, number, weigh, divide. What should be obvious is that "the writing's on the wall"... literally, at the White Hut.
Superstition - Stevie Wonder live at the White Hut:
Deu 6.22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:
Eh but whose paying attention to these small details?
The translation reads: Who is John Galt?
The way I heard it it says “Stand back Eve, I don’t know how big it’s going to get.”
And, unless I am wrong - that the Bible is silent on the development of “Hebrew”, it “evolved” over time and with the living experience of “the Jews” and most likely in the same human context that Aramaic script developed.
Is the settlement of this mystery important? To language scholars and just understanding written language history, yes; to Judeo-Christian faith, no. In my own personal view.
It’s been called the flaming language with reference to spiritual etymology. Perhaps it predates man.
You really made it look as if you were interested, but since this isn’t important to you, why post?
By the time Judaism arose, Hebrew had been supplanted by Aramaic. Abraham spoke — did not write — Hebrew.
:’) Thanks for the ping!
I did NOT say it was not important “to me”.
I said that resolving the question was, to me, not important to a Jewish or Christian faiths (in my view), but it does have importance in the history of written language.
"The etymology of the Semitic languages, which are fully developed yet have retained their primeval root system in pristine form, is of a different nature; theirs is an entirely internal affair. There is very little that Hebrew can gain from the etymological consideration of the few other surviving members of its family of tongues. Hebrew and its living relatives Arabic and Aramaic [and Samaritan] are formally similar, have identical roots of assorted shades of meaning, and are barely etymologically distinguishable from one another." [ http://www.hebrewetymology.com/Introduction%20%28English%29.pdf ]
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