Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 13:04:52 EDT
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.
Because the ancient Hebrews used the Phoenician script.
> "Hebrew" has been frequently used inexactly in the context here as a
> cover term for a wide range of script variants, spanning thousands of
That may be, but not by me.
> 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.)
Birnbaum apparently "coined" the phrase "palaeo-Hebrew" because he
didn't like referring to a "Hebrew script" as "Phoenician". But, that's
what it was. When I speak in a Phoenician context, I'm pleased to use
the word Phoenician. "Old Hebrew", "palaeo-Hebrew", "Phoenician",
and even "Old Aramaic" are, indeed, practically indistinguishable.
One of the several glyph charts which you kindly provided came here,
to the main Unicode public list. As I recall, it illustrated similarities
in various "scripts" which were already unified in the (then) current
> >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.
There aren't any, because Phoenician hasn't been encoded yet.
(Couldn't resist, could I?)
> >John Hudson provided this scan:
> >> http://www.tiro.com/view/NorthSemitic.jpg
> >...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.
The scan John provided shows Phoenician as written by six different
scribes at different times in slightly different places, as far as I can
tell. (Or, it could have been the same scribe who lived a long life and
moved around a bit.) The first three lines of the scan are Phoenician
and labelled as such. The last line of the scan, "Palaeo-Hebrew" is a name
coined by Birnbaum for Phoenician used to write Hebrew. Likewise,
the Moabite and Aramaic examples are showing the Phoenician script
used to write those languages.
My guess would be that several letters weren't included in all
of the examples because the original examples, some of which were
apparently single inscriptions, were too short to include all the
letters of the alphabet.
> 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.
If a name like "Canaanite" or "proto-Canaanite" would be preferable,
then so be it.
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