Re: New contribution

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Sat May 01 2004 - 21:16:26 CST

Ernest Cline wrote:

>How about the following:
>When deciding how to encode ancient scripts in Unicode, sometimes
>arbitrary distinctions must be made between scripts that had a
>continuous evolution from one form into another. Depending upon
>the point of view of the author, a text written in a transitional form,
>such as Paleo-Hebrew, might be encoded in Unicode as either
>of the two scripts that it serves as a bridge between, in this case,
>Phoenician and Hebrew.
It's a nice try, but Paleo-Hebrew isn't a transitional form.
Glyphically, it's firmly on the "Phoenician/Old Canaanite" side of the
equation, not resembling Aramaic-style square letters. Naveh says that
the old Canaanite alphabet gave rise to three lines: Phoenician was its
direct descendent, and developed at what seems a natural pace for a
script to evolve. Aramaic evolved at an extremely rapid rate, changing
its shapes dramatically in comparatively little time. Hebrew developed
very slowly, hardly changing at all.

So the "transitional" forms are more to be found in Aramaic texts: if
you're distinguishing by shape, Paleo-Hebrew is definitely not transitional.


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