Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What was the first language?

"Now the whole world had one language and a common speech."
Genesis 11:1

Nice, but could the "one language" have been Phonecian?

We see in today's paper that archeologists have found a tablet inscribed with two lines of an alphabet dating to the 10th century BCE. The string of aleph-beth-gimels appear to be an early rendering of the emerging Hebrew alphabet but it's unclear if the language is Phoenician, Hebrew or a blend of both. The best guess, scholars say, is that the find represents the Hebrew language still in transition from its Phoenician roots. The suggestion, supported by this new discovery, is that Hebrew was not the language of Israel until aproximately the the time of David, because it was during the time of David that the language first developed.

Notes Below
Yes, skeptics, we know the bible itself contradicts the idea that multiple languages were created at the Tower of Babal, reporting in verses which appear before the Tower of Babel story that the children of Noah has previously spread out within their territotries, "each with his its own language."

And yes, we also know the Ramban deals a death blow to the idea that the first language was Hebrew, arguing in his commentary to Gen. 45:12 that the Hebrew of the Patriarchs "was not a private language spoken by a single person but a language of Canaan."

And, yes, we also know that Yam (sea god), Mot (death god), Nahhar (river god) and El (chief god) were all Akkadian names for Ugaritic dieties. And we also know that many responsible scholars doubt David ever existed.

Anything else?