Re: New contribution

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 10:36:58 EDT

  • Next message: "Re: New contribution" wrote at 7:07 AM on Friday, April 30, 2004:

    >Dean Snyder wrote,
    >In the case of ideographic
    >unification, one can look at the glyphs involved and clearly observe
    >the similarity. This is not so with Phoenician and Hebrew, clearly.

    Yes it is, for the ancient periods.

    "Hebrew" has been frequently used inexactly in the context here as a
    cover term for a wide range of script variants, spanning thousands of
    years. This is useful in some contexts, but not when we are talking about
    the ancient periods. Hebrew (as a cover term for the scripts used by the
    Israelites down through the millenia) underwent several developmental
    stages. That is why I specifically use the phrase "Old Hebrew" when
    talking in a Phoenician context. They were contemporary scripts and in
    the earlier periods are practically indistinguishable (as is also Old
    Aramaic). I posted several glyph charts from several scholarly sources on
    the Unicode Hebrew list illustrating the marked similarities (and
    distinctions) that exist between most of the West Semitic diascripts.
    (Multiple columns of which, by the way, are entirely, and conveniently,
    missing from the current proposal.)

    >Please. When the Phoenician script is approved, I will post a hypertext
    >version of the Meshe Stele.

    You can do it right now - just specify one of the nice Phoenician (or
    better here, Moabite) fonts available for the text.

    >John Hudson provided this scan:
    >...which shows the Phoenician script at various stages. It's a bit
    >though. If the only available reference were this scan, we could infer
    >that, although the Phoenician language used the letters K, L, and M from
    >975 to 930 B.C.E., these letters were dropped from the language
    >by 900 B.C.E. only to be added back into the repertoire by the Moabites
    >around 830 B.C.E..

    They're missing from the charts because examples for those particular
    glyphs were not extant in the sparse data available when those charts
    were compiled.

    >Quoting Birnbaum from John Hudson's letter:
    >> To apply the term Phoenician to the script of the
    >> Hebrews is hardly suitable. I have therefore coined the
    >> term Palaeo-Hebrew.
    >In one sense, it is OK to call Phoenician a "Hebrew script", since Phoenician
    >was used to write Hebrew. In another sense, calling Phoenician a "Hebrew
    >script" would be just as incorrect as calling the Phoenicians "Hebrews".
    >To apply the term Phoenician to the script of the Phoenicians seems
    >eminently suitable.

    It is the same script shared by the ancient Phoenicians, Hebrews,
    Samaritans, Aramaeans, Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites. In short, the
    name "Canaanite" seems preferable. After the first few centuries of use
    of this script by these peoples, each of the major cultural groups
    developed this shared script along sometimes more, sometimes less,
    independent tracks.


    Dean A. Snyder

    Assistant Research Scholar
    Manager, Digital Hammurabi Project
    Computer Science Department
    Whiting School of Engineering
    218C New Engineering Building
    3400 North Charles Street
    Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21218

    office: 410 516-6850
    cell: 717 817-4897

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