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The articles in this issue have been divided up into the following categories







A History of Writing

by Steven Roger Fischer

Publisher: Reaktion Books
352 pp Price: UK £19.92 US $29.95

From the earliest scratches on stone and bone to the languages of computers and the Internet, A History of Writing offers a fascinating investigation into the origin and development of the world’s writing. After surveying the first stages of information storage – knot records, pictographs, message sticks or boards, coloured pebbles – Steven Roger Fischer focuses on the emergence of complete writing systems in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC and its many reflexes in Egypt, the Indus Valley, Canaan, Anatolia and the Aegean.

Having traced the rise of Phoenician and its effect on the evolution of the Greek alphabet, a process that generated the West’s many alphabetic scripts, Fischer turns his attention to the writing systems of Asia, presenting a detailed exploration of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese.

An analysis of the Americas’ pre-Columbian writing is followed by a close look at the evolution of handwritten and printed scripts in Western Europe, from the Middle Ages through the invention of printing to the technological innovations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The most important development of writing was the invention of the alphabet some 4,000 years ago. The book does not cover adequately that phenomenal revolution and tries to attribute the development of the first alphabet to the Egyptians.

We believe that the first alphabet was the Hebrew alphabet invented by none other than our Patriarch, Abraham, in the course of his frequent travels to Egypt. He ridiculed the stupidity of the hieroglyphic writing and devised the sixteen letters of consonants based on the human speech. The names of all these consonants derive from the Hebrew language.



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