Meaning of the Hebrew Alphabet.
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— Name Vault —
The Hebrew Alphabet
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The Hebrew Alphabet
—On the meaning of the Hebrew Alphabet—
The Hebrew alphabet is not simply a collection of abstract linguistic
elements, like the English alphabet is. All Hebrew letters have names and
identities, and in post-Biblical times were even rendered numerical value.
All letters alternate with some others during the history of the language,
but in the name chase, we usually don't see more than
s turning into
s and vice versa, or
s do the same, and occasionally
s. Some letters have a different, longer (final) form when they
occur at the end of a word.
The formation of the proto-Canaanite alphabet (around Abraham's time; the
19th century BC) was an incredible leap in understanding language. Before
the alphabet, words or phrases were represented wholly, as little pictures,
and the idea that all the many words consisted of a minute group of smaller
'atoms' was brilliant. The Hebrew alphabet is among the oldest in the
world, and it was either derived of, or equal to the original Phoenician
alphabet (even the word alphabet comes from the first two Hebrew letters:
aleph and beth). In his wonderful book
In the Beginning - A Short History
of the Hebrew Language
(see ad to the right), Joel Hoffman Ph.D. even
states that ".
..most of the reading and writing that goes on in the world
today can be traced back to the Hebrews' experiment with vowels."
See below for a treatment
In the Beginning
or Buy New
As told by Joel M. Hoffman, the Hebrews were the first to
incorporate vowels in their written text, and by doing this the
previously esoteric art of writing and reading became available
to the masses. The seemingly casual command to 'write'
something on doors or foreheads included the invention of a
writing system that could be learned by everybody. A very big
deal, and resulting in the most powerful tool of data
preservation up to this common age. Hebrew theology is by far
the most influential ever, and this is in part due to the Hebrew
invention of vowel notation. This power (this theology)
contrasted others by use of the vowel notation, using symbols
that were already used and until then only represented
consonants: the letters
), and to
give an example: the word
is either the word
beloved (and the
is a vowel), or it is the word
jar (and the
is again a vowel), or it is the word
is the name David (and the
is a consonant).
These letters became markers for both the Hebrew identity and