In the script chart above, I have drawn examples of a number of letters. This chart, I believe, allows even the untrained eye to see evolutionary changes that permit paleographers to date scripts typologically. The top line, from right to left, presents characters in Old Hebrew script of c. 700 B.C.E.: ’alep, he, kap, lamed, mem, s\ade and qop. The bottom line, again from right to left, presents the same characters in the paleo-Hebrew script of the late first century B.C.E. (in the shaded area are the modern Hebrew equivalents and English transcriptions). The Old Hebrew letters are drawn from the Siloam tunnel inscription; the paleo-Hebrew letters are drawn from the manuscript 11QLev (the Leviticus manuscript from Cave 11 at Qumran).

The ’alep at Siloam is drawn with a long vertical and three horizontal strokes, two on the right of the vertical, one on the left, a familiar cursive and lapidary pre-Exilic form. The ’alep of the late paleo-Hebrew scripts is made with a short vertical and two horizontal strokes, the upper one breaking through to the left of the vertical. In the latest of the paleo-Hebrew manuscripts, 11QpaleoLev, the top horizontal is written first, and the vertical breaks through only slightly, if at all, above the horizontal.

Join the BAS Library!

Already a library member? Log in here.

Institution user? Log in with your IP address.