Hi everyone! I've been very busy this last week so this week's post is educational in nature.
I mentioned awhile back that I had started learning Hebrew. This is true. I already know the alphabet by heart! But the interesting thing is, Hebrew as we know it today is not the Hebrew that prophets wrote or spoke in much of the Hebrew Bible. There are many layers of depth to the language (just like English, think Middle English, Shakespearean English, modern English) but the important distinction to know for From the Dust is that the language of their day is most appropriately called Paleo-Hebrew. This is not the same Hebrew that the Hebrew Bible as we now have it was written in. If you were to learn what we now call "Biblical Hebrew" you would actually be learning a different dialect than Paleo-Hebrew, at least on the written side of things. Just how different is hard to say until I learn it, but visually we can compare the alphabets fairly quickly:
Thus, Jeremiah, Lehi, and others would not have written in the alphabet on the left, but rather the one on the right. That said, I think the language itself remained at least identifiably the same in terms of speaking (just like we can understand Shakespeare today though it's been 400 years) over the course of much of the Bible (at least the period called Classical Hebrew, aka Biblical Hebrew).
The change happened largely during the Babylonian captivity when what few Israelites remained learned Aramaic and changed the Hebrew alphabet accordingly, presumably during the redaction (organizing) of the Hebrew Bible. The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet is based on the Phoenician's alphabet. They were the peoples that lived in the promised land prior to the Israelites.
We will be utilizing the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet for design purposes in From the Dust, and will turn it into a calligraphic, beautiful script, inspired by Hebrew and Arabic calligraphy. In the artwork we create we will have many messages that kids can "decode." Some might be scriptures, but most will simply be a part of the artwork. For example, I already have some ideas for borders, etchings, and other graphic design elements that could be enhanced with Hebrew names, symbols, and more. I am hoping to achieve a "Lord of the Rings"-like feel with the beauty, grace, and quality of the artwork, but with a uniqueness that celebrates the ancient feel of Biblical cultures, as well as the scriptures themselves. We have several cultures to re-create for the comic and the languages will be an important part of that. If you contrast Paleo-Hebrew with Biblical Hebrew, for example, it is a strikingly similar contrast as Tolkien's Elvish vs Dwarven, the one organic and the other rigid. This contrast will make for some very beautiful artwork, I think.
Readers of From the Dust will naturally become familiar with the look, feel, and sound of Hebrew. People that want to will have plenty of opportunity to learn it. In fact, let's start our learning now with one very important word:
Here is a sample of Paleo-Hebrew from Bridges for Peace, "Your Israel Connection." It's taken from an inscription discovered in Hezekiah's tunnel.
See? It looks similar to Elvish:
Ok it's arguable, but there are definitely some similarities. Contrast it with these:
Tolkien's Dwarven Runes:
Cool huh? If Graphology has any credibility (and I'm not saying it does) it definitely would appear that the cultures from which those two Hebrew alphabets resulted were very different from each other. It could, however, just be the difference between script and print, the same as in modern English. But I think the disparity is greater than just that.
Cursive vs Print
I can't wait to talk to a professional about this. I have all kinds of questions about it!
Also interesting is this diagram (from Bridges). I will research it further when I get the chance. From the several sources I have read it appears that Hebrew's origins may have been pictographic in nature.
**Please note by posting these I am not accrediting the sources!** I am by no means qualified to make those types of judgments...yet.
More artwork next week! I will actually make the artwork this time rather than talk about making it.