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Cadmean Letters: The Transmission of the Alphabet to the Aegean and Further West before 1400 BC (Martin Bernal) Hardcover Book, (Eisenbrauns, 1990) 9780931464478
Cadmean Letters: The Transmission of the Alphabet to the Aegean and Further West before 1400 BC (Martin Bernal) Hardcover Book, (Eisenbrauns, 1990) 9780931464478
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Title: Cadmean Letters: The Transmission of the Alphabet to the Aegean and Further West before 1400 BC

Author: Bernal, Martin

Publisher: Eisenbrauns; Publication Date: 1990

Hardcover; ISBN: 9780931464478

Volumes: 1; Pages: xiii, 156

List Price in Hardcover: $42.50 Our price: $35.99

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Western civilization has long sought its cultural roots in the classical civilizations of the Aegean. During the twentieth century, however, it has been made increasingly clear that it owes a great debt to the civilizations of the Fertile Crescent. In the thick of the debate as to how much classical civilizations were influenced by the Levant has been the question of the date of the transmission of the alphabet. In this monograph, Bernal takes up the question anew and marshals persuasive arguments that the date of transmission of the alphabet should be moved considerably earlier than generally has been thought, to the middle of the second millennium B.C. Growing out of his work on Black Athena, the intricate matters of alphabetic history and transmission are dealt with, both in terms of the history of the investigation of the topic and also with regard to the specific working out of his own new proposal.

Table of Contents

Tables, Charts, and Maps

Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Historiography of Alphabetic Transmission from the Levant to the Aegean

From Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century

Nineteenth Century: Rivalry between the Ancient and Aryan Models

Early Twentieth Century: The Development of the Extreme Aryan Model

Mid Twentieth Century: The Debate about the Date of the Ahiram Inscription

Recent Studies

2. Difficulties with the Conventional Dating of Transmission to the Eleventh of Ninth Centuries B.C.

Where in the Levant Did the Western Alphabets Originate?

Problems in the Aegean

Problems with Other Mediterranean Alphabets

Anatolian Alphabets

Etruscan Alphabet

Messapic Alphabet

Spanish Syllabaries

Numidian and Tifineh Alphabets

3. A New Scheme of Alphabetic Transmission

Disadvantages of Wave Model and Higher Chronology

Lack of Simplicity

Lack of Attestation

Biographic Societies

Cypriot Syllabary

Application of New Proposal

Ugaritic and South Semitic Alphabets

Minean-Sabean Alphabet

Thamudic Alphabet

Nature of the Alphabet of Primary Transmission

4. The Spanish Syllabaries

5. The Greek Alphabets

6. Conclusion



Index of Authorities

"His work is carefully done and has great merit. Cadmean Letters is an important contribution to the study of the alphabet's transmission. As Bernal stands alone in this field, his work should be read critically. More important, it should be read."--James E. Miller, Andrews University Seminary Studies

"... his work contributes greatly to the study of the origin of the Greek alphabet at least in two important respects. First, Bernal for the first time has exposed most clearly the fundamental weaknesses of the Carpenter-Jeffrey theory, and second, he has demonstrated that the problem of the Greek alphabet must be studied not in isolation, but in its Mediterranean context."--Haruo Konishi, Phoenix

"Bernal offers a detailed treatment of the various Semitic scripts, including the syllabaries used in Spain, and discusses their possible relation with other systems of writing, including the Etruscan."--Hugh Lloyd-Jones, The New York Review of Books

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