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Akhi Joe V.....

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Akhi Joe V.....

May-30-2001 at 09:51 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Shlama Akhi Joe,

You asked me the following question in an email:

I was listening to a Jewish Rabbi teach a little while ago and he said that
it is an error to believe that our modern square letters came from Syria.
He said that the two alphabets that have been used by Israel since creation
were...

Tsav Ivrit and
Tsav Asshuri

and that "Tsav Asshuri" should be translated "Letters of Certification" not
"Syrian Letters". He mentioned that Syrians were using the estrangela
farther back than the square letters. "Tsav Ashuri" could be translated
either way, but the idea it means "Syrian Letters" has led people to think
Israel got these letters from Aramaic.

He said that "Letters of Certification" means that these square letters have
a shape that certifies their meaning.

Here is a quote from Dr. Menahem Mansoor, a Sephardic Jew, Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Semitic Studies, University of Wisconsin, in Madison.

He earned his Ph.D. from Trinity College in Dublin.

The quote is from the book titled: Biblical Hebrew - Step by Step, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, ISBN: 0-8010-6041-9.

Lesson One (Page 5)
During the biblical period the language spoken by the Israelites was called in the Bible the "Language of Canaan." (See Isaiah 19:18.) It is very similiar to the languages of the other Canaanite-speaking nations (Moabite, Phoenician, Ugaritic.)

Hebrew was a living language, used for speech and writing by the Israelites, until the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. Aramaic, the political and cultural language of the Near East, gradually replaced Hebrew from about the sixth century B.C., and probably by the first century A.D.

Lesson One (Page 10), under the sub-title "Aramaic."
Aramaic has also influenced the writing systems of several languages; Hebrew, in fact, adopted the Aramaic script.

Lesson Four (Page 23), under the sub-title "Early Writing Systems."
In ancient days, Hebrew was written in the common script used alike by the Moabites, Hebrews and Phoenicians. It is known as the Phoenician, Canaanite or Paleo-Hebrew script.

The transition from the Phoenician script to the Square script was first effected in Aramaic, and then in Hebrew, about the fifth century B.C. This change occured, no doubt, because of the growing influence of the Aramaic language immediately before the Christian Era. This script eventually became known as the Aramaic, Ashuri or Square script. Ashuri is the Hebrew name for Assyrian. From this, the Square script we use today was developed.

Jewish tradition ascribes this change to Ezra, but the scientific view is that it was a gradual process. For a time, both scripts were used, as is evidenced not only by the Maccabean coins of the second century B.C., but also by the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here we find some scrolls in Phoenician script, some in early Aramaic, or Square, script, and a few others in both scripts. Later, the ancient form was completely abandoned. The ancient script has been preserved until the present day by the Samaritans in Palestine.

I hope this helps!


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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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