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1.8  Hebrew Pictograms

Hebrew Consonants -

Ancient Hebrew Pictograms

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Like other ancient writing systems, the Hebrew alphabet originally was written using a pictographic script. Later, the pictograms evolved into a Hebrew script (sometimes called Paleo-Hebrew) that strongly resembled the ancient Phoenician alphabet. This was the Hebrew (ketav Ivri) used by the Jewish nation up to the Babylonian Exile (or, according to Orthodox Jews, until the Exodus from Egypt). Examples can be found on coins and clay fragments (called ostraca). Today, both the Torah and newspapers use modernized renditions of the Aramaic-style script, though everyday correspondence is written using Hebrew cursive.

Warning: While the study of the pictographic script can sometimes yield insight into the underlying meaning (etymology) of Biblical Hebrew words, it is generally to be avoided as a stand-alone exegetical principle since this can lead to speculations and doubtful interpretations. For honest interpretation, the rule of thumb is to first master the p'shat (plain historical meaning) before moving on to other "levels" of the Scriptures.

Hebrew Pictographs

The table above is sometimes used to infer the (supposed) latent meaning of various Biblical terms. Generally, the process is one of simple substitution, where the ancient pictographic symbol is substituted for some Ashri text (modern book text). For example:

Pictographic Substitutions

Related Topics:

Hebrew Word Pictures

Hebrew Word Pictures by Dr. Frank Seekins. The book that shows how the ancient Hebrew letters declare the Gospel! Discover the ancient script that reveals penetrating truth about the Word of God! Includes an Audio CD that will help you learn the word pictures and hear all the examples.

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Ancient Hebrew Alphabet Chart. This is the ultimate Alphabet Chart, with over 20 alphabets arranged so you can easily compare Hebrew to any of the languages of Biblical and Modern times. Using this chart, you will see how Hebrew has developed over time.  High color, laminated: 16.25 X 12.5.

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