Samaritan Alphabet
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Samaritan Alphabet
Samaritan
Samaritan Leviticus.jpg
Type
LanguagesSamaritan Hebrew, Samaritan Aramaic
Time period
600 BCE - present
Parent systems
DirectionRight-to-left
ISO 15924Samr, 123
Unicode alias
Samaritan
U+0800-U+083F

The Samaritan script is used by the Samaritans for religious writings, including the Samaritan Pentateuch, writings in Samaritan Hebrew, and for commentaries and translations in Samaritan Aramaic and occasionally Arabic.

Samaritan is a direct descendant of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, which was a variety of the Phoenician alphabet. This is the alphabet in which large parts of the Hebrew Bible were supposedly originally penned, although this is not the consensus of all scholars. All these scripts are believed to be descendants of the Proto-Sinaitic script. That script was used by the ancient Israelites, both Jews and Samaritans.

The better-known "square script" Hebrew alphabet traditionally used by Jews is a stylized version of the Aramaic alphabet called Ashurit ( ) which was received on Sinai from the Finger of God according to Exodus 32:16. After the fall of the Persian Empire, Judaism used both scripts before settling on the Aramaic form. For a limited time thereafter, the use of paleo-Hebrew (proto-Samaritan) among Jews was retained only to write the Tetragrammaton, but soon that custom was also abandoned.

A cursive style of the alphabet also exists.

The Samaritan alphabet first became known to the Western world with the publication of a manuscript of the Samaritan Pentateuch in 1631 by Jean Morin.[2] In 1616 the traveler Pietro della Valle had purchased a copy of the text in Damascus, and this manuscript, now known as Codex B, was deposited in a Parisian library.[3]

Development

The table below shows the development of the Samaritan script. On the left are the corresponding Hebrew letters for comparison. Column I is the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. Column X shows the modern form of the letters.

The development of the Samaritan script

Letters

Ancient inscription in Samaritan Hebrew. From a photo c.1900 by the Palestine Exploration Fund.

Unicode

Samaritan script was added to the Unicode Standard in October 2009 with the release of version 5.2.

The Unicode block for Samaritan is U+0800–U+083F:

Samaritan[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+080x
U+081x
U+082x
U+083x
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 13.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

Notes

  1. ^ Himelfarb, Elizabeth J. "First Alphabet Found in Egypt", Archaeology 53, Issue 1 (Jan./Feb. 2000): 21.
  2. ^ Exercitationes ecclesiasticae in utrumque Samaritanorum Pentateuchum, 1631
  3. ^ Flôren?în 2005, p. 1: "When the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch was revealed to the Western world early in the 17th century... [footnote: 'In 1632 the Frenchman Jean Morin published the Samaritan Pentateuch in the Parisian Biblia Polyglotta based on a manuscript that the traveler Pietro Della Valle had bought from Damascus sixteen years previously.]"

Bibliography

  • Flôren?în, Mo?e (2005). Late Samaritan Hebrew: A Linguistic Analysis of Its Different Types. Brill. ISBN 978-900413841-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Samaritan_alphabet
 



 



 
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