The Origins of Written Language

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The Origins of Written Language

Postby Roger Stanyard » Fri May 04, 2007 11:13 am

I’m trying to get together a clear idea of the relationship between the Old Testament and the development of written language in the Middle East. As far as I am aware, the origins of written language can be dated back to around 5,200 years ago. There concurrent areas or origin have been identified – Mesopotamia, Egypt and Pakistan. The earliest known recordings of a Noachian-type flood come from Mesopotamia and date back to around 4,600 years ago but relate to a period around 4,900 years ago (indicating that written records of the event have been transcribed from early written recordings.

Can anyone conform this or correct me on it?

My understanding is that the Old Testament was essentially written down between 700 BC and 200 BC. Presumably it drew upon two sources, previously written records and oral knowledge. Is there any clear indication what written records it drew upon? From my understanding nearly all the events it refers to which took place before about 600 BC are largely fiction and are not substantiated by the archaeological evidence. That suggests that oral tradition was relied heavily upon for the earliest parts of the OT.

Can anyone give any help on this?
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The Origins of Written Language

Postby Anonymous » Fri May 04, 2007 1:10 pm

Mesopotamia, Egypt and Pakistan.

The cities states of Mesopotamia, the Terminal Predynastic states in the Nile Valley, the Harrapa civilisation and the early Chinese states.

The earliest known recordings of a Noachian-type flood come from Mesopotamia and date back to around 4,600 years

See the Gilgamesh epic.

ago but relate to a period around 4,900 years ago

They refer to a number of floodings of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Can't be narrowed to one specific period or event.

My understanding is that the Old Testament was essentially written down between 700 BC and 200 BC. Presumably it drew upon two sources,

It drew upon a number of diverse sources.


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Postby tubataxidriver » Fri May 04, 2007 4:08 pm

A good summary of post ice-age human history is in "After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC" by Steven Mithen. It covers the development of agriculture in the Middle East and the various civilisation centres there, from direct archeological evidence.
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The Origins of Written Language

Postby Anonymous » Fri May 04, 2007 7:10 pm

tubataxidriver wrote:
A good summary of post ice-age human history is in "After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC" by Steven Mithen.

It is a fantastic piece of work in its own right, although it does have
significant biases in its coverage due to the author's research interests.

For pre-Holocene Africa, see Ann Stahl's edited publication. For
Holocene Africa, Peter Mitchell's stunning piece of work.
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Re: The Origins of Written Language

Postby Michael » Fri May 04, 2007 8:15 pm

Roger Stanyard wrote: ?

My understanding is that the Old Testament was essentially written down between 700 BC and 200 BC. Presumably it drew upon two sources, previously written records and oral knowledge. Is there any clear indication what written records it drew upon? From my understanding nearly all the events it refers to which took place before about 600 BC are largely fiction and are not substantiated by the archaeological evidence. That suggests that oral tradition was relied heavily upon for the earliest parts of the OT.

Can anyone give any help on this?


700-200BC sums up the liberal consensus on dating.

The most conservative of evangelicals reckon Moses wrote everything in the Pentateuch in c1500BC (including the last chapter of deuteronomy) with Job the oldest book of all - claiming Job is totally historical.

Many evangelicals reckon that the OT was written in its present form between 1050BC and 200. This will include able scholars like Prof Gordon wenham (author of a good commentary on Genesis) of Glouscester Univ among others. I tend to this position or rather variety of positions

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The Origins of Written Language

Postby Dave Oldridge » Sun May 06, 2007 6:14 am

On 4 May 2007 at 6:13, Roger Stanyard wrote:

I´m trying to get together a clear idea of the relationship
between the Old Testament and the development of written
language in the Middle East. As far as I am aware, the origins
of written language can be dated back to around 5,200 years ago.
There concurrent areas or origin have been identified -
Mesopotamia, Egypt and Pakistan. The earliest known recordings
of a Noachian-type flood come from Mesopotamia and date back to
around 4,600 years ago but relate to a period around 4,900 years
ago (indicating that written records of the event have been
transcribed from early written recordings.

Can anyone conform this or correct me on it?

My understanding is that the Old Testament was essentially
written down between 700 BC and 200 BC. Presumably it drew upon
two sources, previously written records and oral knowledge. Is
there any clear indication what written records it drew upon?
From my understanding nearly all the events it refers to which
took place before about 600 BC are largely fiction and are not
substantiated by the archaeological evidence. That suggests that
oral tradition was relied heavily upon for the earliest parts of
the OT.

Can anyone give any help on this?

It's a bit open to argument as to which of Ezra's sources were
written and which oral. Moreover, the Samaritan Torah, by its
very existence suggests an earlier written tradition. Some
estimates place that as early as 1200BC (3200 years ago).



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Postby George Jelliss » Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:17 pm

As regards origin of writing, does this help?

http://web.archive.org/web/200012012232 ... riting.htm

It's a site I came across while setting up some pages on Historical Chronology (mainly of science) on the Leicester Secular Society website.

I found the link via this more general site on Ancient History, which links to original sources:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/ ... dle%20East

The site seems to be rather useful (there are also Medieval and Modern sections).
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Postby George Jelliss » Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:53 pm

A number of humanist and secular organisations have received the following email from a certain Larry Cohen, requesting a review of his "book" which is on this very long web-page:

http://www.TheInfiniteAndTheAlephbet.com

He claims that Hebrew language and spelling was deliberately structured in a formal manner (at least I think that's what he claims). But the book seems to wander off into numerous other matters.

======
If you have a little spare time, could you take a look at the link at
the bottom of this email, which displays a full copy of my new book -
without charge. Here is a brief synopsis with a couple excerpts:


Saint Jerome (342-419 AD), author of the 'Vulgate', a translation of
the Bible from Hebrew & Greek into Latin, said: "The most difficult
and obscure of the holy books contain as many secrets as they do
words, concealing many things even under each word."

Maimonides (1135-1204 AD), a Rabbi and philosopher and one of the most
influencial figures in the recorded history of Jewish thought,
speaking of the book of Genesis said: "We ought not to take literally
that which is written in the story of creation, nor entertain the same
ideas of it as are common with the vulgar. If it were otherwise, our
ancient sages would not have taken so many pains to conceal the sense,
and to keep before the eyes of the uninstructed the veil of allegory
which conceals the truth it contains."



Have you ever wondered why the author(s) of the Bible and the Qur'an
went to such great lengths to craft these extraordinarily elaborate
works of fiction? Was it simply to deceive people? Was it simply to
collect church donations? Was it just the delusional writings of
people with overactive imaginations? Is there anything more to the
fairy tales?

I find that so many of those who call themselves 'rationalists', or
who preach the scientific method over faith-based reasoning, have been
so very un-scientific when addressing these scriptural works. They
simply dismiss these books on the basis that they do not make logical
or rational sense. If they would only perform even a cursory
investigation (true science), they would have found out long ago that
many of the leading figures in the history of the Semitic religions
understood their scripture to be fictional, and that this fiction was
only part of the whole picture.
inction can be drawn between the section of Genesis 36, setting
forth the generations of Esau [a seemingly superfluous passage], and
the Ten Commandments, for it is all one whole and one edifice."



The product of over a decade of research, The Infinite And The
Alephbet posits that each letter in the common Semitic
alphabet(Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic & others) represents something
fundamental, such as motion, resistance, or life.

Semitic scripture(Old Testament, New testament, Qur'an & others) is
thus imbued with a layer of meaning below the surface - a sort of
'science' of the fundamental nature of things, intertwined with the
surface narrative - the stories that we are familiar with.


For example, the letter NOON represents living entities where they are
generally bound.

Here is a list of the names of many visible external distinct living
body parts in the human body:

OYIN-YUHD-NOON: Eye
ALEF-ZAIN-NOON: Ear
LAMED-SHEEN-NOON: Tongue
SHEEN-NOON: Tooth
ZAIN-QOAF-NOON: Beard (chin)
GIMEL-RAISH-NOON: Throat, neck
HKET-TSADY-NOON: Bosom, arms, lap
BAIT-TET-NOON: Belly, womb
QOAF-TET-NOON: Little finger
BAIT-HAY-NOON: Thumb, big toe

What are the odds that so many end with the same letter?



Now let's consider kings David and Solomon.

The name 'David' is spelled DALET-VAWV-DALET. Other words with the
same or similar arrangement of letters mean: 'love', 'beloved',
'amiable' etc…

The name of one of David's sons, Solomon, who goes on to become king
after David, is spelled SHEEN-LAMED-MEM-HAY. Other words with the
SHEEN-LAMED-MEM combination mean: 'peace', 'rest', 'safety' etc…

You may be familiar with the Hebrew greeting 'Shalom', the Aramaic
greeting 'Shlomo', and the Arabic greeting 'Salam' which all mean
'peace'; and the terms 'Muslim' and 'Islam' which are also based on
the same combination of letters.

And so, 'Love' gives birth to 'Peace', and after Peace dies, the
kingdom just so happens to become divided.

David's first appearance in 1-Samuel 16:12 : And he sent, and
brought him (David) in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful
countenance, and goodly to look to. 16:21 : And David came to
Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became
his armourbearer.

The outset of Solomon's reign described in 1-Kings 4:24 : For he
had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah
even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had
peace on all sides round about him.

And then, once the kingdom is divided after Solomon dies, Rehoboam
rules the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem, and Jeroboam rules the rest of
the tribes. Rehoboam has a son named Abijam and Jeroboam has a son
named Abijah.

Rehoboam = RAISH-HKET-BAIT-OYIN-MEM
Jeroboam = YUHD-RAISH-BAIT-OYIN-MEM

Abijam = ALEF-BAIT-YUHD-MEM
Abijah = ALEF-BAIT-YUHD-HAY



This book has nothing to do with the Da Vinci Code, where the
characters of the bible are treated as actual historical figures.

And this book has nothing to do with the 'Bible codes', which treats
the Bible as one big crossword puzzle.

Instead, the core idea of this book is that there are two narratives
brilliantly interwoven in Semitic scripture (Old Testament, New
testament, Qur'an & others). There is a narrative of finite things,
and there is a narrative of things found throughout the infinite.

The narrative of the finite includes mythology, allegory, parables,
riddles, prohibitions, commandments etc. - concerning finite things,
with words that refer to finite things with which we are familiar such
as mountains, kings, battles, cities, chariots, houses, people, etc.
This is the story of Semitic scripture that we are familiar with.

The narrative of the infinite is embedded within this narrative of the
finite, in the letters of the same words.

Abraham bar Hiyya (1065 – 1136 AD): "Every letter and every word in
every section of the Torah have a deep root in wisdom and contain a
mystery from among the mysteries of understanding, the depths of which
we cannot penetrate…"



The book is available in its entirety, without charge, on the web:
http://www.TheInfiniteAndTheAlephbet.com

Right after the section entitled 'Baalam's donkey', you will find a
link for the required fonts for the page – which are also entirely
free (available for MAC or PC).

The introduction is straightforward, and is only about a half-hour of
reading. If you like what you see, could you do me a huge favor: pass
the word on.

Thank you kindly.
======
GPJ
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The Origins of Written Language

Postby Dave Oldridge » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:31 pm

On 27 Jun 2007 at 16:53, George Jelliss wrote:

A number of humanist and secular organisations have received the
following email from a certain Larry Cohen, requesting a review
of his "book" which is on this very long web-page:

http://www.TheInfiniteAndTheAlephbet.com

He claims that Hebrew language and spelling was deliberately
structured in a formal manner (at least I think that's what he
claims). But the book seems to wander off into numerous other
matters.

He's probably right about the alphabetic symbolism. And that's
all I'm gonna say about that!

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Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:45 pm

I’m trying to get together a clear idea of the relationship between the Old Testament and the development of written language in the Middle East. As far as I am aware, the origins of written language can be dated back to around 5,200 years ago. There concurrent areas or origin have been identified – Mesopotamia, Egypt and Pakistan. The earliest known recordings of a Noachian-type flood come from Mesopotamia and date back to around 4,600 years ago but relate to a period around 4,900 years ago (indicating that written records of the event have been transcribed from early written recordings.

Can anyone conform this or correct me on it?


Roger: You may find this of interest:

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/language ... 04667.html
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