Sunday, January 15, 2012

Online: The Advantage of Cultural Periphery

The Advantage of Cultural Periphery: The Invention of the Alphabet in Sinai (Circa 1840 B.C.E ), pp. 255-321. In Rakefet Sela-Sheffy and Gideon Toury (eds). Cultural Contacts and the Making of the Cultures: Papers in homage to Itamar Even-Zohar (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 2011).

Almost all scholars who have studied the birth and development of the Canaanite alphabet – the ancestor of all modern alphabets – think that the Egyptian script played a major role in this great intellectual leap. However, they differ in their reconstructions as to where the invention originated (Canaan, Egypt, or Sinai), the Egyptian source used as the basis of the invention (hieroglyphs, cursive hieroglyphs, hieratic), and the exact role of the source in the actual process of invention.

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