Thursday, December 08, 2016

Was the oldest Hebrew preserved in Egypt?

PHILOLOGY: Hebrew may be world's oldest alphabet (Walt Bonner, Fox News).
The oldest recorded alphabet may be Hebrew. According to a controversial new study by archaeologist and ancient inscription specialist Douglas Petrovich, Israelites in Egypt took 22 ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and turned them into the Hebrew alphabet over 3,800 years ago.

The discovery of this early Hebrew alphabet has proved controversial to scholars who dispute the dates Petrovich has for the Israelites’ stay in Egypt – 430 years to the very day, as recorded in Exodus 12:40-41, equaling 1876-1446 BC – arguing that Biblical dates are unreliable. Skeptics have also disputed the Hebrew identification, arguing the early alphabet could be any number of Semitic languages.

Yes, that pretty much sums it up. In an earlier post I linked to some skeptical evaluation by Northwest Semitic epigrapher Christopher Rollston and Egyptologist Thomas Schneider. But Professor Petrovich has a new book coming out with Carta Books in which he will make his case more fully. That would be more interesting if he were publishing in a peer-review venue, but let's see what kind of case he makes, nevertheless.