Re: Hebrew and Greek as languages

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Sat Apr 11 1998 - 13:26:20 EDT

>>I understand that the alphabet itself changed so that there are very old
>>sources of the 10 commandments that are written in a significantly different
>>script, and that sections or all of the pentateuch had to be 'translated'
>>a proto-language and script, something like our translation of Chaucer--but
>>I'm kind of vague on where I read it, so perhaps someone else can fill in
>In fact, Hebrew script changed quite rapidly. I believe the block script
>which is commonly taught in biblical Hebrew classes today is found in much
>of the rabbinic writings (or at least a version similar to it), but it is
>very different from what is found in inscriptions from the first century.
>If I remember right, the inscription on the Caiaphas osuary (discovered
>only a few years ago) would be illegible to many Hebrew Bible students.

Michael is correct in what he says above, but his chronology is a bit too
late. Actually the Dead Sea Scrolls use a script very close to the script
used today in printing. However, in some of them the proper name of God is
written in the old Hebrew script which you will find on the so-called Gezer
calendar (an inscription of the Seventh Century B.C.). The burial
inscription for the tomb of King Uzziah (placed later) is in a script that
appears to be transitional between t he two.

You might want to consult the work Frank Cross did on the paleography of
the Dead Sea scrolls.

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Edgar Krentz
Professor of New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Telephone: (773) 256-0752
Since the home access is functioning well again, you can go back to using
it until further notice
Fred Allen once said to Groucho Marx, "I have just returned from Boston;
it's the only sane thing to do if you find yourself up there."
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