Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav


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Why was almost all the knowledge of Ancient Egypt lost until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone? Did the Romans or Greeks write nothing about it?

hieroglyphics

Ancient Egyptian paid the price of being over-exclusive. Since the skill of writing (and reading) hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic writing was jealously guarded by a small, exclusive caste of scribes, once the Alexandrian and Roman conquests undermined the old Pharaonic regime and made Greek the new language and culture of the elite, that skill became largely redundant, and died out with the scribes.

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Why do Greek, Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic, etc. have names for their letters like alpha, beta, lamda?

The names of the Hebrew/Phoenician alphabet were given by the ingenious Canaanite slave(s) who first invented them some time in the 1900s BCE, possibly in Wadi El-Hol in Egypt:

wadi_el_hol-inscription-over
Detail of an inscription on a rock face in Wadi El-Hol, Egypt (near the Valley of the Kings)

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Is there sound evidence that the Hebrew exodus from Egypt occurred in Biblical times?

 

(My answer to this question at Quora.com)

As Ricardo Almeida points out, the story of the Exodus bears much resemblance to the historical explusion, around 1550 BCE, of the “Asiatics” (Canaanites) who had settled and eventually took over and ruled northern Egypt for well over four hundred years.

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How did ancient people describe the physical appearance of Hebrews?

The Ibscha Relief from the tomb of Khnumhotep II shows Semitic traders as light-brown-skinned people with tailored beards and curly black hair—in contrast with Egyptians, with longer straight hair, and a darker complexion.

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(See this and other answers to this question at Quora.com)