A new report states that the oldest alphabet in the world is Hebrew, and substantiates Biblical claims that the Hebrews indeed lived in Egypt at the time of the Exodus.
Archaeologist and epigrapher Douglas Petrovich of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada studied stone slabs at several Egyptian sites, and found that the Israelites translated hieroglyphics into Hebrew 1.0 over 3,800 years ago.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research on November 17, Petrovich said the Israelites wanted to communicate with their brethren, and simplified the complex hieroglyphic writing system of the Pharoahs into 22 alphabetic letters. He asserted, “There is a connection between ancient Egyptian texts and preserved alphabets.”
Inscriptions along the left edge of the slab read, “The one having been elevated is weary to forget.” Inscriptions across the top read, “The overseer of minerals, Ahisemach.”
Petrovich was anticipated by a German scholar in the 1920s who identified the ancient Egyptian writing as Hebrew, but cold not identify many letters in the alphabet. But in January 2012, Petrovich found the word “Hebrews” in a text from 1874 B.C. that includes the earliest known alphabetic letter at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Traditional Jewish texts attribute the Israelites’ sojourn in Egypt from 1876 B.C. to 1442 B.C.
Petrovich mixed previous identifications of some letters in the ancient alphabet with his own identifications of disputed letters so he could identify the script as Hebrew. He then translated 18 Hebrew inscriptions from three Egyptian sites, finding references to the biblical figures of Moses, Joseph, his wife Asenath and Joseph’s son Manasseh.
Petrovich will be publishing a book with his findings soon.