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(88 words)

[German Version]

is the sequence of letters of an alphabetic script established for mnemonic reasons, in particular to the Phoenician abgad (i.e. beginning with Aleph-Beth-Gimel-Dalet) that was adopted by the Greeks as Alpha-Beta and by the Romans as ABC. Letters have had numerical value (according to their sequence in the alphabet) only since Hellenistic times.


J. Naveh, Early History of the Alphabet, 1982

B. Sass, Studia Alphabetica, OBO 102, 1991

E.A. Knauf, Die Umwelt des Alten Testaments, NSK AT 29, 1994, 212–221.

Cite this page
Knauf, Ernst A., “Alphabet”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 18 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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