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v2.1 Reference

The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts

Ever since the discovery and limited decipherment of the West Semitic inscriptions from Serebit el-Khadem at the beginning of the twentieth century , the small corpus of so-called Proto-Canaanite and somewhat later Old Canaanite inscriptions has gradually expanded over the intervening years. While the corpus has grown quite slowly, the theories as to the orthographic form, meaning, and chronology of these few records have grown exponentially . The otherwise sedate world of West Semitic epigraphy was shaken up, however, in 1999 by the announcement of the discovery of two ProtoCanaanite inscriptions at Wadi el-Hol in Egypt, and it was this new find that largely inspired Gordon Hamilton to publish a thorough revision of his 1985 Harvard dissertation ("The Development of the Early Alphabet").

About the Author

Gordon J. Hamilton is professor of Old Testament Language & Literature, Huron University.

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