Q&A: What is the history of the cursive Hebrew type (כתב)?

Cursive forms of Hebrew arose in every Jewish community during the Second Exile to communicate or write in Hebrew in secular contexts (i.e., when not writing Scripture). As in the case of the cursive forms of hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt, and the lowercase letters and italics in the Roman script in the Middle Ages, the cursive forms of Hebrew developed in a bid to write the printed letters more quickly. Thus, the three-strokes of printed letters such as aleph, bet and tzadi became just two-stroke ones; and two-stroke letters such as gimmel, dalet, etc. became continuous, fluid strokes, etc.:

Fig94-SqToCursiveAlf

Evolution of cursive aleph and dalet (from “Aleph Through the Looking Glass”)

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