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The basis of alphabetic writing is the assignment of a symbol or sign to each basic unit of sound in a language. These discrete units of sound are known as phonemes. Most languages possess from 12 to 60 phonemes. Reducing each word to phonemes and then representing the phoneme sequence in writing by symbols enables the recording of every word in a language. The invention of the alphabet provided an efficient means for record keeping, communication, and transmission of knowledge.

The earliest known alphabet of the Hebrew people reflects the hieroglyphic writing of the ancient Egyptians. Genesis 1 reflects this simplicity as it is presumably only a step removed from hieroglyphic writing. The names of this ancient Hebrew alphabet came from their resemblance between the form assumed by the letter and a constellation whose name began with the letter in question. Professor Kenneth Hermann theorizes that examination of the ancient Hebrew alphabet suggests that most, if not all, of its symbols find their basis in caricatures of the constellations as they appeared to the hieroglyphic reading eye about 3500 BP.

Some linguists, relying on the late conquest theory, hold that the archaic Hebrew alphabet came from that of the Phoenicians who settled on the coast of the Levant at (Segert 1988:1152). The archaic Hebrew is that of the Hebrew abecediary, 1200-1000 BCE, found at Izbet Sartah. A 1400 conquest of Canaan, the early conquest theory, as recorded in Joshua underscores the Egyptian influence. A question to ponder is "In what alphabet did God write the Ten Commandments on the two tables of stone?" In what alphabet did Moses write the Torah?

Page last edited: 02/02/06 05:43 PM

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