The Biblical Archaeology Society's new website section: The Scholar's Study
The Biblical Archaeology Society website will be featuring a new section, The Scholar's Study that will continue to follow scholarly debates presented in the pages of the Biblical Archaeology Review magazine. The current article is an intriguing exchange between Professors Anson Rainey and Orly Goldwasser about who really wrote the alphabet.
- (1888PressRelease) October 01, 2010 - Biblical Archaeology Review's award-winning Web site announces its newest section: The Scholar's Study. Follow scholarly debates from the pages of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine as they continue in The Scholar's Study online.
The Scholar's Study currently features "Who Really Wrote the Alphabet-Illiterate Miners or Educated Sophisticates," an intriguing exchange between Professors Anson Rainey and Orly Goldwasser.
In a landmark article in the March/April 2010 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Orly Goldwasser, professor of Egyptology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explained how the very first alphabet, from which all other alphabets developed, was invented by illiterate Canaanite miners in the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai peninsula. Inspired by Egyptian pictorial hieroglyphs and a desire to articulate their own thoughts in writing, these Canaanites created 22 alphabetic acrophonetic signs scratched into the rock that could express their entire language.
But Goldwasser did not convince everyone. Anson Rainey, emeritus professor of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and Semitic Languages at Tel Aviv University, promptly responded to the article with his doubts that this watershed moment in human culture had been brought about by illiterate miners. In his letter Rainey argues that the alphabet was surely created by "highly sophisticated Northwest Semites" who inscribed countless papyrus sheets that have not survived.
Join us in The Scholar's Study to read Rainey's critique and Goldwasser's rebuttal about who really invented the alphabet.