Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

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kwrandolph
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby kwrandolph » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:57 pm

Hal:

PakoBckuu wrote:… What is curious to me about this is that the first letter that they chose to start their alphabet was also a picture of the animal that they associated with God, the bull.


This statement is false. I don’t know how else to say it, but that when something is false, it’s false.

There’s no evidence that the first letter was chosen to show an association of a bull with God. None at all. If anything, it’s a picture of domestic bliss.

We don’t have a history of the alphabet, as it was developed for writing on parchment with ink. We have a few places where there is graffiti scratched into stone, graffiti that dates back to when Israel was in slavery in Egypt,

The first example we have of Israel associating a bull with God is after the Exodus, long after when we have examples of the alphabet. Then Moses derisively calls it a “calf” עגל

The male of a cow is פר but when a raging, dangerous and powerful bull is mentioned, it’s שור. That’s the next to the last letter of the alphabet. In contrast, an אלף is a domesticated animal, not dangerous at all.

PakoBckuu wrote:I guess that this connection is not a coincidence.


Guess again.

I would say that this theory is not so much coincidence, as the attempts of moderns to denigrate Biblical teachings, to twist them to fit their beliefs.

PakoBckuu wrote:But I don't know how one would prove otherwise, since you rightly said that the history of the alphabet-making has been lost.

In Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of Our Alphabet From A to Z, David Sacks theorizes:


Theories based on beliefs with no evidence to back them up are not worth the paper they’re written on.

I reject answers based on “proto-Semitic” because there’s no evidence that there ever was such a language.

I especially reject demonic theories such as the Kabbalah.

Moses wrote in the second half of the 15th century BC. There’s evidence that the alphabet predated Moses by centuries. Tanakh consistently condemns the worshipping of a bull as a god. As a result, there’s no evidence that the first letter of the alphabet is connected with an association of a bull with God.

I previously said you’re like a bulldog, you just won’t let go. That can be good, or bad. But here there’s no evidence to back up your question, and it would be better to let go.

All the best, Karl W. Randolph.

PakoBckuu
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby PakoBckuu » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:07 pm

kwrandolph wrote:Hal:

The male of a cow is פר but when a raging, dangerous and powerful bull is mentioned, it’s שור. That’s the next to the last letter of the alphabet. In contrast, an אלף is a domesticated animal, not dangerous at all.

Good point.
Hal Smith

PakoBckuu
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby PakoBckuu » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:23 pm

Karl,

I have repeatedly found claims connecting Lamad and staff. The letter Lamad does look like an upside down staff (Shebet), but that's as far as I've gotten to successfully associate the two. I also found the following attempt to connect Lamad and staff, but it doesn't look reliable to me. Let me know what you think.


The Hebrew lamed derives from the Middle Egyptian hieroglyph S39 in the standard hieroglyphic Sign List (hereafter ‘S.L.’), which depicts a shepherd’s crook/staff (Fig. 4).

Image
Figure 3: Chart of Proto-Consonantal Letters (Courtesy of Brian E. Colless)


Image
Figure 4: Chart of Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphs from the Sign List (S.L.)


The third letter lamed depicts a shepherd’s staff, known as a crook, and derives from the Egyptian staff/crook hieroglyph (S39 in S.L.; Fig. 4). The Canaanite syllabary contains no such grapheme for the l-sound, or any other sound. Instead, the Canaanites used a drawing of the sky with a sickle suspended from it to represent the la- syllabic (Fig. 5a), which is based on the word for “night” (laylu). Seemingly, Canaanite borrowed from the Egyptian glyph for “night” (N2 in S.L.; Fig. 4), which depicts the sky with a w3s-scepter suspended from it.

The Egyptian language presents no such trouble for the derivation of the lamed-staff as Canaanite does. The hieroglyphic S39 staff was used interchangeably with the S38 staff, which featured a far more curved handle, to denote “flocks” (‘wt) of animals such as sheep and goats, though it also could be used alone to represent the word for “scepter” (ḥq3t).

The connection of Egyptian as a source language for Hebrew is strengthened by Hebrew’s borrowing of the Egyptian glyph to represent its own letter l, since the Hebrew name for the instrument used to goad animals along was a lmd (Judg 3:31), despite the superfluous m at the beginning of dm'l.m; (“oxgoad”), due to mimation.

http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/20 ... ption.aspx

Here are my two criticisms of this passage:
First, the writer claims that the L in Sinai Egypt looked like a Г with the hook at the top. But what evidence is there that in fact an L was drawn this way in the Sinai?

Second, it could be misleading to put the Egyptian staff in a row labeled L, because the Egyptian staff was not pronounced L, nor did it mean a word starting with L. The Egyptian staff letter was pronounced as an "awt", hqa, or heqat sound. (SEE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cate ... hieroglyph))
Hal Smith

kwrandolph
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby kwrandolph » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:52 pm

Hal:

You have caught at least part of the problem.

What you are running into is a presupposition, absent of any evidence, that the alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics. It could be the other way around.

A second presupposition is that the writing known as Proto-Sinaitic was scratched by Hebrews. Instead those graffiti could be from the Amalekites, a Semitic people whom the Egyptians called Hyksos, who ruled Egypt for some time (possibly from the time of the Exodus to the time of King Saul). They most likely spoke a cognate language to Hebrew.

A third presupposition is that the glyphs had the same meanings in Hebrew as they had in Egyptian. There’s good reason to say that they didn’t have the same meanings.

PakoBckuu wrote:I have repeatedly found claims connecting Lamad and staff. The letter Lamad does look like an upside down staff (Shebet), but that's as far as I've gotten to successfully associate the two. I also found the following attempt to connect Lamad and staff, but it doesn't look reliable to me. Let me know what you think.



Here are my two criticisms of this passage:
First, the writer claims that the L in Sinai Egypt looked like a Г with the hook at the top. But what evidence is there that in fact an L was drawn this way in the Sinai?

Second, it could be misleading to put the Egyptian staff in a row labeled L, because the Egyptian staff was not pronounced L, nor did it mean a word starting with L. The Egyptian staff letter was pronounced as an "awt", hqa, or heqat sound. (SEE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cate ... hieroglyph))


Here’s part of the problem—a cattle goad in Hebrew is מלמד used once in Judges 3:31. As you can see, that word starts with a mem, not a lamed.

Secondly, a cattle goad was usually just a sharpened stick, used to poke the cattle (sort of like spurs for horsemen) without a crook.

How a shepherd’s crook got connected with the verb “to learn” or the noun “learning” or “student (learner)” can only be speculated at this time.

The belief that the alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs is just a belief with no evidence. We don’t know which came first.

Thanks for bringing up this challenge, it’s given me an excuse to do some deeper studies.

All the best, Karl W. Randolph.

PakoBckuu
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby PakoBckuu » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:17 pm

kwrandolph wrote: a cattle goad was usually just a sharpened stick, used to poke the cattle (sort of like spurs for horsemen) without a crook.

How a shepherd’s crook got connected with the verb “to learn” or the noun “learning” or “student (learner)” can only be speculated at this time.

Karl,

Do you think that the Hebrews actually associated a "shepherd's crook" with Lamad / "to learn", "learning", "student"?
So far I have mainly seen assertions of this, as in the chart that I found below where lamad is drawn with a round spiraling hook at the top and looks a bit like a shepherd's staff:

Image

Or for example, in Wikipedia, there is an article alleging that this Imagewas the "Proto-Sinaitic" form of Lamad. But how does Wikipedia know this?

In this chart, (Proto-Sinaitic script - Wikipedia) 5 or 6 out of 6 or 7 times, the Lamad is pointing horizontally or else downward like a goad would, with the Proto-Sinaitc showing the diagonal upward staff. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Sinaitic_script

I contrast, images such as the following come up in searches for a goad, with the hook pointing away from where a person would hold the shaft:
Image
Hal Smith

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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby talmid56 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:14 pm

This reminds me of some of the allegorical interpretation I've seen in the Apostolic Fathers, Augustine's sermon on the Sermon on the Mount, etc. None of which is derived from the plain meaning of the Scripture texts, but basically using them as a springboard to launch off into what is mostly the author's own speculations with no support whatsoever. Sometimes it is done with devotional intent, but that doesn't change the fact that it is poor exegesis. Philo, the Jewish philosopher, who sought to win over Gentiles by explaining the Old Testament in terms of Greek philosophy, made the same mistake in his exposition of the OT. PB, you would do better, if you really wish to learn Hebrew, to focus on learning the sounds and letter equivalents of the Hebrew script, practice writing and typing them, then move on to learning the vocabulary and grammar and reading the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. The studies you’re focusing on right now with this discussion, in my opinion, won’t really help you in learning Hebrew.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים

PakoBckuu
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby PakoBckuu » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:45 pm

PakoBckuu wrote:
kwrandolph wrote:Hal:

The male of a cow is פר but when a raging, dangerous and powerful bull is mentioned, it’s שור. That’s the next to the last letter of the alphabet. In contrast, an אלף is a domesticated animal, not dangerous at all.

Good point.

Karl,

When you wrote this, I thought you meant that Shur is the next to the last letter of the alphabet, and so if the Hebrews wanted to indicate a letter like a "bull" specifically, then they would have just used the letter Shur. So you meant that the theory that Aleph indicates a bull must be wrong because they already had a different pictograph letter for that.

But now it looks to me like the second to last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is "Shin", not Shur, Also, I find that in the translations, Shur most often means ox, rather than bull. (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_7794.htm)
For example, an ox is used to pull a plow (Deut 22:10)
Hal Smith

kwrandolph
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby kwrandolph » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:06 am

Hal:

PakoBckuu wrote:When you wrote this, I thought you meant that Shur is the next to the last letter of the alphabet, and so if the Hebrews wanted to indicate a letter like a "bull" specifically, then they would have just used the letter Shur.


I assumed that you knew enough Hebrew to recognize what I meant. Your response here is that you don’t even know the alphabet. You just validated Dewayne’s recommendation—if you want to learn Hebrew language, study that, not these strange, esoteric theories.

Furthermore, these theories are a variation on the etymological fallacy̦—that somehow a putative past of a letter indicates a certain belief. You need to look at how people actually use letters, words and sentences, not theorized histories of the letters.

PakoBckuu wrote:Also, I find that in the translations, Shur most often means ox, rather than bull. (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_7794.htm)


Strongs doesn’t have a good reputation on this list. He was not a Hebrew scholar and it shows. We recommend that you don’t use him as a resource.

Thanks, Dewayne, for speaking up. You are quite right. I tend to get bogged down in minutiae, you brought me back to the bigger picture.

Karl W. Randolph.

PakoBckuu
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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby PakoBckuu » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:59 am

It's curious - the etymology of Aleph (herd) appears to come from a word meaning to teach. Yet how could it then morph into the word for chief (aluph)? Maybe originally it meant bull, which would make sense because a bull can be a kind of chief of domesticated animals? It would be neat to go back in time and find out the etymology.
Hal Smith

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Re: Is the Semites' letter Aleph, meaning "ox", related to their god "El"?

Postby Kirk Lowery » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:07 pm

All right, gentlemen. This discussion has wandered from a discussion of the biblical hebrew language and texts. Let's leave it at this place.

Thanks.
Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
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