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Alphabetic writing is one of the principal features of Western culture. Our knowledge of the early history, development and spread of the alphabet is constantly changing. This introduction is the author’s personal way of introducing this field of study on the basis of the evidence available to date. The result -- a most enjoyable and informative book. . . an excellent introduction to epigraphy and paleography of ancient Semitic languages . . . the book, which contains a wealth of information compiled into a simple to understand format. The present study attempts to trace the evolution of alphabetic writing from its inception around 1700 B.C. up to the crystallization of modern scripts. Although the alphabet was used primarily by the West Semites, the book deals mainly with the history of West Semitic writing. But it does not limit itself to it: the process of its adoption and early evolution among other peoples -- i.e. South Semites, Greeks, Iranians and others -- is considered as well. Intended for readers with no previous knowledge of Semitic epigraphy and paleography, this book does not however avoid the discussion of scientific problems. On the contrary, in addition to describing the story of the alphabet in antiquity, the book deals with a series of questions which are the subject of scholarly controversy. Although this work in general follows mainly W. F. Albright and F.M. Cross, it quite often differs with their views or at least views their conclusions with a degree of criticism or reservation. The book is supplied with a large number of illustrations of various scripts
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