Hot Debate on How the Alphabet Was Born

Posted in Biblical on December 22nd, 2013 by dhawkinsmo

From Biblical Archaeology Review 9/13/2012 … “In a landmark article in the March/April 2010 issue of BAR, Orly Goldwasser, professor of Egyptology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explained how the very first alphabet, from which all other alphabets developed, was invented by illiterate Canaanite miners in the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai peninsula. Inspired by Egyptian pictorial hieroglyphs and a desire to articulate their own thoughts in writing, these Canaanites created 22 alphabetic acrophonetic signs scratched into the rock that could express their entire language.

But Goldwasser did not convince everyone. Anson Rainey, emeritus professor of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and Semitic Languages at Tel Aviv University, promptly responded to the article with his doubts that this watershed moment in human culture had been brought about by illiterate miners. In his letter Rainey argues that the alphabet was surely created by “highly sophisticated Northwest Semites”; who inscribed countless papyrus sheets that have not survived.” LINK HERE

Rainey’s First Critique
Goldwasser’s First Rebuttal
Rainey’s Response
Goldwasser’s Second Rebuttal

How Illiterate Canaanite Workers Used Egyptian Hieroglyphics to Invent Alphabetic Writing

Posted in Biblical on December 15th, 2013 by dhawkinsmo

Last year sometime, I wrote an article about how the early form of Hebrew was a sort of hieroglyphic script. I learned this in a marriage seminar of all places put on by our church from Ken Nair and Life Partners Ministries. That article is found HERE. Recently someone challenged me on this saying that there is no evidence for this and that Dr. Frank Seekins was simply resurrecting an old discredited theory. Well, hold on. Not so fast. Here is a recent article (2010) in Biblical Archaeology Review that not only supports Seekins view, but also links Egyptian hieroglyphics, ancient proto-Sinaitic, paleo-Hebrew and modern alphabets like Greek and Latin.  Fascinating read.  Click HERE.  I for one would like to go back to using an alphabet something like the proto-Sinaitic.  As the article points out, seems like it would be easier for a kid in school to remember how to form a letter that is a picture of something rather than some abstract design of nothing-in-particular.  Speaking of “pictures of something”, would someone like to hazard a guess as to what the “something” is on the second row from bottom on the far left? :-0