By William M. Schniedewind
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Additional resources for A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period
And “conventional” means that the traditional grammars and histories of Hebrew have been neogrammarian and descriptive. 66 Rabin’s work reﬂected his broad training in linguistics and his interest in practical ﬁelds like translation theory. Although Rabin’s articles on the emergence of classical Hebrew and on Qumran Hebrew have been well received, his sociolinguistic history of Hebrew is relatively unknown. Several other authors have addressed quite-limited issues that would fall into the purview of sociolinguistics.
Greek historian Herodotus writes that “the Phoenicians . . taught them [that is, the Greeks] the alphabet” (Hist. V, 58:332), and later writers largely follow the account of Herodotus. e. 16 This account received credibility because of the antiquity of the ﬁrst alphabetic inscriptions as well as the location of their discovery. The earliest example of alphabetic writing is from Wadi el-Hôl in Egypt. The site is on a caravan trail, not far from the ancient city of Luxor. Egyptologists J. C. Darnell and D.
11 In addition, there are at least three school texts that suggest that Hazor may have served as a regional center for training scribes. 12 Archaeologists are still hoping to ﬁnd a major archive of cuneiform texts from Hazor, but the smaller ﬁnds point to Hazor’s role in disseminating cuneiform writing throughout Canaan. The Origins of Hebrew 33 Writing was thus well entrenched in the Levant long before we have any written Hebrew texts. Whereas early cuneiform and hieroglyphic writing systems were logographic and developed into logographic and syllabic systems (meaning that each written symbol represented a morpheme or a syllable),13 Hebrew writing would use an alphabetic writing system.
A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period by William M. Schniedewind