By Kevin Leland
Hebrew is simultaneously, one of the oldest AND newest languages, in the world today. Oldest because even the everyday language of Jesus of Nazareth was Aramaic. Aramaic is a form of Hebrew, but with a heavy dialect from the captivity in Babylon. This language of Moses was quite different, and more ancient than Amaraic.
Hebrew, an ancient language, is also considered the newest because in 1948 when Jews from all over the world returned to Israel, the Hebrew of the time of Moses was revived as a common, unifying language. Amazing, huh?
This revival is accredited to Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. The revived Hebrew alphabet is also very interesting. It is where the word “alphabet” comes from. The first two letters are pronounced Aleph, Bet. Each letter is also a corresponding number, and word, and is drawn to resemble the word it represents. For instance: Aleph is the letter “A”, the number “1”, the word for “Ox”, and the symbol looks like an “X” which also resembles the horns and front legs of an ox. Beth is the letter “B”, the number “2”, the word for house, and it’s symbol looks like a backwards “C” with a flat bottom…a shelter, or house. Pretty cool, huh?
Linguistics is barely a hobby of mine, so any corrections or additions by anyone with a deeper understanding are more than welcome in the comments! I enjoyed the self-study I did, through a course on Biblical Hebrew. I’ll be posting a link to that excellent book and CD set, for sale on Amazon. I highly recommend it. It will lead you to learn things about the holy Bible, you will otherwise never have learned.
Jr Coffey, an anthropologist and linguist, was kind enough to offer this correction to my claim the the word ‘alphabet’ came from the ancient Hebrew, in this FaceBook comment:
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