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A Social History of HebrewIts Origins Through the Rabbinic Period$
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William M. Schniedewind

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300176681

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300176681.001.0001

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Early Hebrew Writing

Early Hebrew Writing

(p.51) 3 Early Hebrew Writing
A Social History of Hebrew

William M. Schniedewind

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the rise of alphabetic writing. The Egyptian background of the scribal infrastructure of Canaan dates back to the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 BCE) when Egypt ruled the southern Levant. The early Phoenicians utilized this apparatus to develop an old writing system—the alphabet—which they simplified, stylized, and spread throughout the Levant in the late second millennium BCE. When the early Israelite and Judean kingdoms began to emerge at the end of the second millennium and into the first millennium BCE, they also used this new alphabetic writing system. The scribal background, however, was still heavily dependent on Egyptian infrastructure. The early Israelites borrowed Egyptian words for accounting as well as the scribal profession, and they utilized the Egyptian numerals as well. The chapter concludes with some features of Archaic Biblical Hebrew.

Keywords:   Egypt, Wadi el-Hol, Serabit el-Khadem, Qeiyafa, Archaic Biblical Hebrew

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