Israelites in Egypt may have turned hieroglyphs into letters 3,800 years ago. The language of the world’s first alphabet could have been Hebrew.
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.” Zephaniah 3:9 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Before there were Jews, there were the Hebrew people descended from Abraham. When Jesus appeared to Paul on the Damascus Road, Paul makes it a point to tell us that He spoke to him in the ‘Hebrew tongue’. The prophet Zephaniah declares that in the Millennium, the world will be speaking a ‘pure language’, which undoubtedly will be Hebrew. So it is very exciting to read about a discovery that may just prove the world’s first alphabet was created from Hebrew. It all fits together rather nicely, doesn’t it?
This is according to an archaeologist who has spent the past four years piecing together the letters of the alphabet from inscriptions on Egyptian tablets. In his controversial theory, Dr Douglas Petrovich claims Israelites in Egypt took 22 ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and turned them into the original Hebrew alphabet – over 3,800 years ago.
For years scholars have known the world’s oldest alphabet was a Semitic language, but exactly which one it was has remained a mystery.
Dr Petrovich from the Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada told MailOnline: ‘I have no doubt whatsoever that Hebrew is the world’s oldest alphabet’. He believes Israelites living in Egypt transformed the civilisation’s hieroglyphics into the first version of Hebrew around 3,800 years ago.
Dr Douglas Petrovich looked at 16 Hebrew letters from Egyptian tablets:
This, he says, is around the time the Old Testament describes Jews living in Egypt. He says it was a way for Hebrew speakers to communicate with other Egyptian Jews.
In 2012, Dr Petrovich was conducting research at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, when he found a tablet called Sinai 115, from 1874 BC.
‘What drew me to Sinai 115 in the first place is that I followed an archaeological trail that led me to identify several specific biblical figures in the epigraphical record,’ he said.
He claims the word ‘Hebrews’ was written on the tablet. His translation was: ‘6 Levantines: Hebrews of Bethel, the beloved,’ which referred to Joseph himself, his son, and four other Hebrews. The professor combined earlier identifications of some letters in the ancient alphabet with his own interpretation of disputed letters to create the ‘Hebrew 1.0’ script.
“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Acts 26:14 (KJV)
Looking at other inscriptions found in Egypt, he came across a number of distinctly Hebrew words, including the naming of three biblical figures – Asenath, Ahisamach and Moses.
An inscription, dated to 1834 BC, is translated as ‘Wine is more abundant than the daylight, than the baker, than a nobleman.’ This may mean drink was plentiful, but food was hard to come by, suggesting Israelites, likely moved to Egypt during a time of famine.
Evidence for the presence of these Israelites in Egypt has not been discovered before, Dr Petrovich says, and this is one of the main reasons scholars ‘mock’ the bible. Biblical figures were mentioned including Ahisamach, whose name was written on Sinai 375a and Moses, who was mentioned on Sinai 361.
Sinai 361 says: ‘Our bound servitude had lingered. Moses then provoked astonishment. It is a year of astonishment, because of the Lady.” The ‘Lady’ mentioned is the goddess Baalath, who, in Egypt, was equated with the Egyptian goddess Hathor, Dr Petrovich says.
Sinai 351 speaks of the Nile River and how it had swollen to over twice its normal level of inundation after the year had changed.
This catastrophic event caused the cultic shrines and the watering troughs to become unclean, due to contamination from silty river water, Dr Petrovich says. ‘There are several distinctively Hebrew words within the corpus of 16 texts that I have translated,’ Dr Petrovich told MailOnline.
Putting together a complete alphabet, detailed in a book, which is available on Kickstarter, was no easy task.
Because the original Hebrew alphabet was ‘acrophonic’, – meaning the naming of letters so that their name begins with the letter itself, and uses no vowels – it leaves a lot of room for ambiguity in the translations.
‘Let’s say, for the sake of example, that English has no written script,’ Dr Petrovich explained. ‘And like the ancient Hebrews, you and I are going to invent it…and without vowels.
‘So, we decide that the “boat” pictograph is going to give us the ‘b’ sound. Every time we want someone to read “b”, we draw a boat. ‘We then decide that a “door” will give us the “d” sound, since “d” is what comes first in that word. ‘When we draw a boat and a door side by side, our reader reads, “bed” or “bad”, or “bid”, or “bud”.’
Another challenge he faced was that many original Hebrew letters never had been identified properly, so Dr Petrovich did all this work himself.
The first controversial part of his theory is the dates Dr Petrovich uses for when Israelites were in Egypt.
He goes by Bible dates suggesting the Israelites stayed in Egypt for 430 years, as recorded in Exodus 12:40-41, which is the equivalent of 1876 to 1446 BC. But some say these Biblical dates are unreliable.
Dr Petrovich, however, argues the Hebrews who wrote the alphabet can be identified as Joseph and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, from the Hebrew Bible.
‘Two of these figures were born and raised in Egypt, with a father who was 2nd in command in all of Egypt, behind only the Egyptian king himself,’ Mr Petrovich told MailOnline. ‘Their mother was an Egyptian priestess of no small significance.
‘It can and should be extrapolated that they were raised to learn hieroglyphic Egyptian writing. ‘It is these two figures who were responsible for converting 22 hieroglyphic signs into the world’s first alphabet.’ source