Samaritan is a direct descendant of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet
, which was a variety of the Phoenician alphabet
. Paleo-Hebrew is the alphabet in which large parts of the Hebrew Bible
were originally penned according to the consensus of most scholars, however this is disputed by some religious authorities on biblical grounds. All these scripts are believed by scholars to be descendants of the Proto-Sinaitic script
, though some religious authorities dispute this alphabetic evolution and branching, instead attributing the script in which the Bible was originally penned as being a direct divine creation which did not evolve out of any earlier writing systems. In any event, the Paleo-Hebrew script was used by the ancient Israelites
, both Jews
Historically, the Aramaic alphabet became distinct from Phoenician/Paleo-Hebrew in the 8th century. After the fall of the Persian Empire, Judaism used both scripts before settling on the Aramaic form, henceforth de facto becoming the “Hebrew alphabet” since it was repurposed to write Hebrew. For a limited time thereafter, the use of paleo-Hebrew (proto-Samaritan) among Jews was retained only to write the Tetragrammaton
, but soon that custom was also abandoned.
style of the alphabet also exists.
The table below shows the development of the Samaritan script. On the left are the corresponding Hebrew letters for comparison. Column I is the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet
. Column X shows the modern form of the letters.
ࠛ epenthetic yût
Samaritan script was added to the Unicode
Standard in October 2009 with the release of version 5.2.
The Unicode block for Samaritan is U+0800–U+083F:
- ^ Himelfarb, Elizabeth J. "First Alphabet Found in Egypt", Archaeology 53, Issue 1 (Jan./Feb. 2000): 21.
- ^ Exercitationes ecclesiasticae in utrumque Samaritanorum Pentateuchum, 1631
- ^ Flôrenṭîn 2005, p. 1: "When the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch was revealed to the Western world early in the 17th century... [footnote: 'In 1632 the Frenchman Jean Morin published the Samaritan Pentateuch in the Parisian Biblia Polyglotta based on a manuscript that the traveler Pietro Della Valle had bought from Damascus sixteen years previously.]"
Last edited on 7 May 2021, at 15:41
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