Skip to comments.Easy as Alep, Bet, Gimel? Cambridge research explores social context of ancient writing
Posted on 04/08/2016 1:50:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
The project, called Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems (CREWS)... is led by Dr Philippa Steele of the University's Faculty of Classics...
For instance, today the notion of "alphabetical order" is used to arrange everything from dictionaries to telephone books, but why is the alphabet organised the way it is?
Alphabetical order as we would recognise it first appeared over three thousand years ago in Ugaritic, written in a cuneiform script made of wedge-shaped signs impressed on clay tablets. The Ugaritic alphabet was in use in the ancient city of Ugarit, uncovered at Ras Shamra in modern Syria. Some of the surviving tablets discovered by archaeologists are known as "abecedaria", where the letters of the alphabet are written in order, possibly for teaching or as a training exercise for new scribes.
The destruction of Ugarit in around 1200 BCE was not the end for alphabetical order. The Phoenicians, living in what is now modern Syria and Lebanon, used the same order for their own alphabet. While their language was related to Ugaritic, their writing system was not. Instead of cuneiform wedge-shapes, the Phoenicians used linear letters, which were much more similar to those we use in English today. The Phoenician alphabet began with the letters Alep, Bet, Gimel, Dalet, which are strikingly similar to our own A, B, C and D.
Dr Steele said: "The links from the ancient past to our alphabet today are no coincidence. The Greeks borrowed the Phoenician writing system and they still kept the same order of signs: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta. They transported the alphabet to Italy, where it was passed on to the Etruscans, and also to the Romans, who still kept the same order: A, B, C, D, which is why our modern alphabet is the way it is today."
(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...
Looks like he ended the sentence with a preposition.
I used to be able to say the whole Greek alphabet between lighting a match and the match burning down to my thumb and index finger.
“I used to be able to say the whole Greek a!lphabet between lighting a match and the match burning down to my thumb and index finger”
Whoooeeee. I bet that cocktail party trick got you dates with a lot of beautiful girls. I mean just casually dropping it into a conversation would immediately draw a crowd demanding a demonstration.
The show “The Naked Archeologist” features a Canadian Jewish guy exploring the mysteries of the Bible.
The Egyptians had a symbolic alphabet and used it sometimes phonetically. There are perhaps the earliest phonetic writing in the world in the area and estimated time Jews were in Egypt, and he theorizes Jews took the concept of writing and turned it purely into a phonetic system - and the earliest inscriptions in the Sinai are to the Hebrew / Aramaic gods.
Nah, one had to learn the skill or get punished.
I wholeheartedly agree. There's a pathology regarding the Old Testament as a history source, part of the overall and long-running campaign to rid the world of Judaism and at the same time undermine the Bible. A couple hundred years ago the latter move was going on in order to undermine the Divine Right of Kings. There are some conflicts between the versions (the Books of Samuel overlap a bit with Kings and Chronicles, and K & C overlap each other -- the familiar story of Samson appears as the story of Shamgar, for instance), but the historical stuff in the OT is the only contiguous account that exists for that time in the Middle East, the neighboring peoples either destroyed each other's archives, or they didn't keep them in a linear fashion, using the throne years of the consecutive (or overlapping) rulers instead.
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