Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?

From: James Kass (
Date: Wed May 26 2004 - 02:57:37 CDT

  • Next message: John Hudson: "Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?"

    Dean Snyder wrote,

    > Modern Hebrew without the adjunct notational systems is Jewish Hebrew and
    > DID exist while the Phoenicians were still around in the first few
    > centuries BC. In fact Jews used both diascripts, Palaeo-Hebrew and Jewish
    > Hebrew, contemporaneously.

    Of course, you're right about the age of modern Hebrew
    overlapping the age of Phoenician a bit. The wording in my
    post, to say the least, was infelicitous.

    I should probably have just asked:
    Did the ancient Phoenicians write Phoenician in modern Hebrew?

    > Obviously "Palaeo-Hebrew" is a modern term; the concept is however a very
    > old one - just look at the Dead Sea scrolls, turn-of-the-era Jewish
    > coins, etc., where it is employed in an archaizing way.

    My pocket change is depressingly modern.

    Some coins from the Phoenician region apparently have Phoenician numerals
    and Hebrew legends suggesting that these coins weren't issued by the
    Phoenicians. I couldn't find any references to coins bearing both Hebrew and
    palaeo-Hebrew legends, but wouldn't be surprised if they exist.

    (Numismatist's plain text database of coin legends, anyone?)

    The Greeks issued coins with Greek legends and Phoenician numerals during
    the reign of Alexander the Great, but moved to using Greek for the dates, too.

    If palaeo-Hebrew and square Hebrew are the same script, then
    it couldn't be said that the Jews abandoned the palaeo-Hebrew
    script after the exile. Yet, this is what available references say
    did happen. (By available, I mean to me. Additional citations
    would be welcome.)

    Negative proofs are kind of hard. I've been unable to find
    anything which states that the ancient Jews considered
    Phoenician and Hebrew to be the same script. If it were
    easily found, I'd've found it already. In fairness, I've also
    tried to find anything documenting that the ancient Jews
    specifically considered Phoenician and Hebrew to be
    separate scripts. Maybe it was such a "no-brainer" (either
    way) for them that they never recorded their thoughts on
    the subject. Or, maybe nothing survived. Or, maybe
    nothing's been brought to light yet.

    Or, maybe somebody knows better?

    Religious scribes had very strict rules. The Word was supposed
    to be copied *very* faithfully. Yet, older DSS appear seem to
    have been in palaeo- and newer DSS in Hebrew.

    Did the scribes think they were faithfully copying older scrolls
    when they "abandoned palaeo-Hebrew script" and made newer
    scrolls in Hebrew? Did they make the newer scrolls because they'd
    abandoned the older script and no-one other than scholars could
    *read* the older scrolls? Did the very strict rules begin some
    time after the older script was abandoned? Does anyone know?

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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