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What did ancient Hebrew letters look like? Is it the same as Hebrew letters today?

by inner.org

  

Library » Miscellaneous » Hebrew / Languages » Hebrew | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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The original letters were the Assyrian script1 that we presently use to write Torah scrolls and Mezuzahs.

The Torah was originally given in Assyrian script as we have it. This later became a sacred script, holy and "hidden," which was reserved only for the Torah scrolls and use in the Temple. The general script used throughout the First Temple period was the Ivri script.

Beginning from the Second Temple period, the Assyrian script was revealed by the masters to the general public, and returned to general use. Nonetheless, there were some remnants of the Ivri script that remained for use in non-religious contexts such as coining, etc.

Later generations have developed other scripts in order not to copy the holy script. These include Rashi script and others which are traditionally used for the Hebrew letters.2

Footnotes

  • 1. The title 'Assyrian' (Ashuri in Hebrew), does not indicate that the Assyriancs invented this writing. The Talmud, Sanhedrin 22a exaplins that this writing style was reintroduced by the Jewish exiles to Babylonia/Assyria, who later proliferated its use. Another possible reason for writing style's name is that it is a beautiful - 'me'usheret' - script, which became known subsequently as 'Ashuri'.
  • 2. Sanhedrin 22a

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Miscellaneous » Hebrew / Languages

Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Rashi
Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). Legendary French scholar who authored the fundemental and widely accepted "Rashi commentary" on the entire Bible and Talmud.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
Mezuzahs
Plural form of Mezuzah. Rolled up scrolls containing certain verses from the Torah which are affixed to the right-hand doorposts of doorways in Jewish homes.