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Proto-Canaanite alphabet

Proto-Canaanite is the name given to

(a) the Proto-Sinaitic script when found in Canaan, dating to about the 17th century BC and later.[1]
(b) a hypothetical ancestor of the Phoenician script before some cut-off date, typically 1050 BC, with an undefined affinity to Proto-Sinaitic.[2] No extant "Phoenician" inscription is older than 1000 BC.[3] The Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaanite dialects were largely indistinguishable before that time.[4]

Name

Proto-Canaanite, also referred to as Proto-Canaan, Old Canaanite, or Canaanite,[5] is the name given to either a script ancestral to the Phoenician or Paleo-Hebrew script with undefined affinity to Proto-Sinaitic,[6] or to the Proto-Sinaitic script (c. 16th century BC), when found in Canaan.[7][8][9][10]

While no extant inscription in the Phoenician alphabet is older than c. 1050 BC,[11] Proto-Canaanite is used for the early alphabets as used during the 13th and 12th centuries BC in Phoenicia.[12] However, the Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaanite dialects were largely indistinguishable before the 11th century BC, and the writing system is essentially identical.[13]

Inscriptions

A possible example of Proto-Canaanite, the inscription on the Ophel pithos, was found in 2012 on a pottery storage jar during the excavations of the south wall of the Temple Mount by Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar in Jerusalem. Inscribed on the pot are some big letters about an inch high, of which only five are complete, and traces of perhaps three additional letters written in Proto-Canaanite script.[8]

Another possible Proto-Canaanite inscription is the Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon, a 15-by-16.5-centimetre (5.9 in × 6.5 in) ostracon believed to be the longest Proto-Canaanite inscription ever found.[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ Woodard, Roger (2008), The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia, p. 4, ISBN 9781139469340.
  2. ^ Coulmas, Florian (1996). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-21481-X.
  3. ^ Hoffman, Joel M. (2004). In the beginning : a short history of the Hebrew language. New York, NY [u.a.]: New York Univ. Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8147-3654-8. Retrieved 23 May 2017. By 1000 B.C.E., however, we see Phoenician writings [..]
  4. ^ Naveh, Joseph (1987), "Proto-Canaanite, Archaic Greek, and the Script of the Aramaic Text on the Tell Fakhariyah Statue", in Miller; et al. (eds.), Ancient Israelite Religion.
  5. ^ Garfinkel, Yosef; Golub, Mitka R.; Misgav, Haggai; Ganor, Saar (May 2015). "The ʾIšbaʿal Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 373 (373): 217–233. doi:10.5615/bullamerschoorie.373.0217. JSTOR 10.5615/bullamerschoorie.373.0217. S2CID 164971133.
  6. ^ Coulmas, Florian (1996). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-21481-X.
  7. ^ Woodard, Roger (2008), The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia.
  8. ^ a b Ngo, Robin (5 May 2017). "Precursor to Paleo-Hebrew Script Discovered in Jerusalem". Bible History Daily. Biblical Archaeology Society.
  9. ^ Gideon Tsur on the Proto-Canaanite text discovered at Keifa (Hebrew)
  10. ^ Milstein, Mati (5 February 2007). "Ancient Semitic Snake Spells Deciphered in Egyptian Pyramid". news.nationalgeographic.com. Archived from the original on February 7, 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  11. ^ Hoffman, Joel M. (2004). In the beginning: a short history of the Hebrew language. New York, NY [u.a.]: New York Univ. Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8147-3654-8. Retrieved 23 May 2017. By 1000 B.C.E., however, we see Phoenician writings [..]
  12. ^ John F. Healey, The Early Alphabet University of California Press, 1990, ISBN 978-0-520-07309-8, p. 18.
  13. ^ Naveh, Joseph (1987), "Proto-Canaanite, Archaic Greek, and the Script of the Aramaic Text on the Tell Fakhariyah Statue", in Miller; et al. (eds.), Ancient Israelite Religion.
  14. ^ "'Oldest Hebrew script' is found". BBC News. October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2011.


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Proto-Canaanite alphabet
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