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Re: orion Palaeohebrew in the DSS

I do not want to distract from the thread, but I enjoy writing in Palaeo myself
and have a font I have used from about 1989 (for MegaWriter/ChiWriter). Besides
the fascination I have for the characters themselves and palaeography, I have
found them very useful in teaching social studies. Any child who knows our
Roman characters can often see the orthographic similarities with
Palaeo-Hebrew. It makes for a great "history of the
Alphabet/Alpha-beta/Alef-Bet and history" lesson. Blah, blah.

But a question. Most of us are familiar with the above lesson, and the
similarities of the Greek alphabet and its Levant ancestor. Because of the
presence of Greeks and Hellenistic peoples in Palestine and beyond, could there
have been an agenda that did use archaizing, but at the same time, perhaps as a
fringe benefit, could the similar alphabets have had some positive effect?
(---In addition to its legibility, etc., Fred mentions, which I agree with as
someone who has fun reading and writing it.)

I am afraid that my history lessons and the students' reaction is coming to
play here, but I imagine Hellenists and Hasmonaeans seeing the orthographic
connection, and if the Cadmus/Qadmon/qedem legends were in place then, could it
not have been a very subtle bit of Hasmonaean nationalistic propaganda? (That
is, 'If you Greeks are so smart, why did you have to borrow "our" alphabet?' I
suppose this would have worked as well for the Phoenicians of North Africa
against the Romans). Whatever ;-).

Just curious,
Tim Phillips


fred cryer wrote:

> Well, I have long thought that there is more to say on the topic of the
> currency vs archaic status issue vis a vis palaeohebrew. What has led us to
> suspect that it was an ancient "sacred" script that was no longer in
> general use is the fact that it substitutes for the script of use when
> writing the Tetragrammaton in numerous mss. On the other hand, as you
> suggest, the fact that, for example, the scribe of the great Isaiah scroll
> uses P-H symbols for his redactional markings suggests that that was the
> script he was most comfortable with. Then, too, there is the obvious point
> that the Hasmonaeans presuppose the intelligibility of the script by using
> it on some of their coin issues. Finally, P-H is actually used on two
> jug-fragments from Qumran, both to write the date of "bottling" of the wine
> and to note the contents (scil. yyn, "wine"). If P-H was so familiar a
> script that it features in off-the-cuff scribbles by shipping clerks it
> *cannot* have been a dead-and-buried "sacred" script, only reserved for a
> few select mss. This indicates that its relative rarity in Qumran requires
> a bit of thought.
> best regards,
> Fred Cryer