Thursday, May 10, 2012


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:

I've contacted the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and hope to take classes with them someday, but this year I'm short the $1k I need to do so, so until the time I am able I will continue the study on my own.

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:

Biblical Hebrew:
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.


  1. Firstly, read Tolkien's books. The runes you are looking at are not "Dwarven". The Dwarves neither shared nor wrote their native language, so had no letters for it. You're looking at the Cirth, an alphabet designed by ELVES, which was adapted to various languages of Men...the same languages that Dwarves spoke and wrote in their daily lives, so yes, Dwarves used did Gandalf, who in Tolkien's mythos was a sort of lesser angel sent to Earth to guide the peoples there.

    Secondly, the Cirth runes look far more like the paleo-Hebrew than they look like any of the more modern Hebrew scripts and both look quite similar to European runes. Hardly surprising, since they were all designed for carving into stone, wood or clay. What is surprising is that you have some sort of idealogical blockage that prevents you from seeing that, which appears to stem from the idea that post-Babylonian Judaism became rigid and legalistic and your belief that you can somehow see that in their writing style.

    In point of fact the later Hebrew scripts were designed for writing with ink on parchment or paper and are actually more flowing and rounded, but somewhat more uniform in size. The Greek and Latin alphabets, and so the English, which were used by the early Christian church, are based on the same Phonecian sources and are at least the equal of Hebrew in fact, Latin scripts are particularly angular. Nor is the Hebrew script you're using the only or most typical script that Jews have ever used, it is the one designed in the last few hundred years for maximum clarity as a TYPEFACE for printing by machine. If any form of "rigidity" is to blame, it is the rigidity involved in the printing press, not the Babylonian exile. People use it now because they are used to it after centuries of seeing their books printed with it.

    Modern Hebrew frequently uses an even plainer typeface, yet uses a more flowing and rounded cursive script for pen writing. Are modern Jews more or less legalistic, then? Less, in that they seldom care a thing for the Torah any more, but they are much more rigid in their thinking and "angular" as a people now.

    If you still believe that the degree of a people or religion's "organic-ness" and faith vs rigidity and legalism are somehow borne out by their systems of writing, then might I humbly suggest that perhaps Islam is the religion for you.

    1. Also, there is something very wrong with the Hebrew you have posted up. There are several letters floating about aimlessly when they ought to be appended to the word following them. The sixth word of line two is just completely wrong, you have v'yosekh and it should be v'hoshekh (and darkness), as is the seventh: the p'nei in al-p'nei (upon the face) should be spelled peh-nun-yud, not peh-nun-khet....what you have is p'nikh...there are dageshim (vowel markers) all over the text in spots no dageshim should even be. Where on earth did you even find this gibberish? For goodness sakes, go here, this is what it should look like


  2. Thanks for the comments! I am not sure what I said in this post or elsewhere that makes you feel I have an "idealogical blockage" to any particular concept, as I thought I made it fairly clear that I was a student of these subjects, was seeking learning and new ideas, and was also seeking authoritative sources to guide my learning. Regardless, here are some answers to your questions and comments on your comments.

    The Biblical Hebrew from this page is a screenshot from the Hebrew version of the scriptures on specifically from the Westminster Leningrad Codex, the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible extant today, which uses Tiberian Vocalization as it existed at about 1000 AD. If there are errors or discrepancies in the Hebrew it is likely because these errors and discrepancies are also found in the WLC, or perhaps because the website itself had them at the time I took the screenshot.

    For a good source on the evolution of the Hebrew alphabet, its "rigidity" or lack thereof at various points in its history, I would recommend readers to this wikipedia article:

    I consider this my post above an observation on the evolution of writing systems, not a declaration of any belief system I have on "faith vs rigidity and legalism." I am a visual designer by trade, and just as Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, used the alphabets of the Lord of the Rings to inspire the shapes of the architecture and artifacts of the various cultures (i.e., Dwarven and Elvish), this post reflects my consideration of if, when, or how I might use similar types of inspiration to guide the visual design of From the Dust.

  3. He's right though. You have been indoctriniated into a ideology stemming from kabbalistic mysticism and paganism. What you, and most mormons do is operate from confirmation bias(study psychology. gestalt principles) . You say something and then expect people who know how hebrew relates to complex mathmatics to prove you wrong. Look at the mathmatics needed to build temples, or better yet. Grab a hammer and a nail, a compass and a piece of paper and get to work. My best advice. Start with a simple book on pythagoras, move to euclid, then if you head ever falls out of your ass, try hyperbolic geometry. You can also, come to same conclusions if you study folklore and play a game of angles, like pool. I suggest starting with Manly P. Hall and Sir George Frazier. Then you'll perhaps begin to understand the gibberish and symbology behind your truth. it isnt of course, the truth, but when your spoon fed it from primary it's hard to understand that. Before you keep thinking your an expert, and get defensive. just think about the pictures primary kids are told to color so they can learn reverence. Then look up Hitler and well, The Watch Tower. Ideal is different from ideas. And get off wikipedia. If you have never read a source document and continue to assume the articles are fool proof, look at their editiors. An article edited by a professor as opposed to a imaginative fool is better. Also, look at your response. You thank the responder for calling you out on your stupidity, and then confrm your stupidity. If you're sure where you go wrong. We assure you, we already know. When an authoritative guide is requested, its important that you recognize you aren't one, and so far, wouldn't recognize one if it was handed to you.

    Note to Gordon: Why, if they ever decide to think for themselves it'll start the apocalypse....oh wait, they already think that happened. Psuedo-science vs. Science

    Psuedo-Science = I'm totally making this up but most everyone around me is either to0 brain-washed to ask questions or they are as stupid as I am.

    Science= Hmm, that doesn't sound right. So, naturally, I'm going to read a source outside the framework of my perspective to gain a more realistic viewpoint. Or not, Let's just see how this pans out. I'll grab some pringles and cheese whiz and watch reruns of the Avatar and see if I can convince these idiots I found a magical world of elves.