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By Christopher A. Rollston

Old Northwest Semitic inscriptions from Israel, Phoenicia, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Philistia enlighten and sharpen our imaginative and prescient of the previous testomony global in a number of methods. Writing and Literacy on this planet of historic Israel makes a speciality of this epigraphic proof in an effort to develop our figuring out of the recommendations and roles of writing, schooling, and literacy in this biblical interval. consequently, the quantity systematically covers scribal schooling; scribal implements; writing media equivalent to stones, potsherds, and plaster; and the non secular, administrative, and private makes use of of writing. Its instruction manual structure makes it simply obtainable, together with to be used as a textbook in classes addressing the cultural context of historic Israel.

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Namely, they employed the origins of alphabetic writing 17 a special system of “alphabetic cuneiform” letters. That is, they used the alphabet, but they employed wedge-shaped letters to write the alphabet rather than using the pictographic or linear forms, presumably because there was a certain cache associated with the cuneiform script, but not with the alphabetic script. Moreover, alphabetic cuneiform tablets have been found not just at Syrian Ugarit (and Ras Ibn Hani and Tell Negi Mend), but also in Lebanon (Sarepta) and Israel (Taanach, Beth-Shemesh, and Nahal Tavor); therefore, the use of alphabetic cuneiform during the mid- to late-second millennium was certainly not confined to the region of Ugarit.

E. The ancient city of Ugarit (Raš Šamra) was a powerful urban center during the second millennium and Mesopotamian cuneiform is very well-attested at Ugarit (as is also Hittite and even some Hurrian). However, the alphabet itself was also known at Ugarit (fig. 7). Rather than employing the linear alphabet such as was used at Wadi el-Hol, Serabit el-Ḫ adem, Gezer, Lachish, and so on, the scribes at Ugarit used a variant thereof. Namely, they employed the origins of alphabetic writing 17 a special system of “alphabetic cuneiform” letters.

3. the use of the phoenician script during the iron age 35 Fig. 10. Kition Bowl with Phoenician inscription. Drawing by the author. 7 Reference should be made to some additional “early” inscriptions that have been found in Israel and the script of these inscriptions, specifically those found at Hazor Stratum IX and Stratum VIII. Although fragmentary, I would suggest that it is readily apparent that none of these inscriptions reflects palaeographic features that are demonstrative of the Old Hebrew script, that is, there is nothing that is diagnostic of Old Hebrew (Rollston 2008a; 2008b).

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