I am wondering what style and what script the original or the earlier/earliest Hebrew scriptures were written in. For example, the earliest Greek scriptures were likely written in the Uncial font (style = Uncial, script = Greek). Likewise I am wondering what it would've been like for the Torah. "Hebrew" script seems to be a relatively modern development. I also have learned that the original texts would've been penned without diacritical marks, and without punctuation of any kind (no titles, spaces, periods, etc.). Not sure if they marked the end of sentences/paragraphs/verses. But in terms of font, I am wondering what they used.
Was it the Samaritan Script "Samaritan is a direct descendant of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, which was a variety of the Phoenician alphabet in which large parts of the Hebrew Bible were originally penned."? Or was it the Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet "the script used in the historic kingdoms of Israel and Judah by Israelites"?
Wikipedia also states:
The present Jewish "square-script" Hebrew aleph beit abjad evolved from the Aramaic. Samaritans (population fewer than 1000) use a P-H abjad derivative, known as the Samaritan alphabet.
So maybe, was it Aramaic script "The ancient Aramaic alphabet was adapted from the Phoenician alphabet and became a distinct script by the 8th century BC. It was used to write the Aramaic language and had displaced the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, itself a derivative of the Phoenician alphabet, for the writing of Hebrew."?
Wikipedia also says:
The earliest inscriptions in the Aramaic language use the Phoenician alphabet. Over time, the alphabet developed into the form shown below. Aramaic gradually became the lingua franca throughout the Middle East, with the script at first complementing and then displacing Assyrian cuneiform, as the predominant writing system.
So I'm a little confused. It seems to go, in terms of script. Phoenician -> Paleo-Hebrew -> (Hebrew, Samaritan, Aramaic). Something like that. So Hebrew script, what did it evolve from? Was it Aramaic, Phoenician, or Paleo-Hebrew? I'm assuming it was directly from Paleo-Hebrew.
So this would mean the font should be Paleo Hebrew. Wikipedia also says:
By the 5th century BCE (with the Hebrew Jews exiled in the diaspora) P-H was subsumed by the Imperial Aramaic abjad with little remnant -- the Aramaic sharing a common protolanguage with a simpler font.
Not sure what it would've been for certain though.
Or could all of the scripts been written in "Early Semitic", with pictographs? At least the Torah? Or could it have been Phoenician? It seems Paleo-Hebrew and Phoenician look pretty much exactly the same. Even if we dont have any of it recorded in history, do you think the Torah would've been written down in Phoenician, or Aramaic, or Proto Hebrew?
Wikipedia also states:
According to one Jewish tradition, however, the block script seen today in Hebrew Torah Scrolls, known as Kthav Ashurith, was the original Hebrew script carved into the Ten Commandments. According to this opinion, the Ktav Ashurith was lost over time, as the masses used Paleo-Hebrew and its cousins, known as Kthav Ivri, for day to day writing, just as Jews today use a non block script for everyday writing.
Would a Torah in Proto Sinaitic have ever existed?
As of my research, it seems either it was Proto Sinaitic or Phoenician which are the earliest candidates for first capturing the Torah. Also, here is a collection of Hebrew-related ancient fonts.
This site says:
Prior to the Babylonian captivity, the Jews used an alphabet very similar to what is found in the Torah scrolls of the Samaritans. However, during the Babylonian captivity, the Jews adopted the Aramaic square script. While paleo-Hebrew continued to be used by the Jews into the first century A.D. on a limited basis, it was the Aramaic square script that was most predominately used to write Hebrew and this is the script used in most scrolls found in the Dead Sea caves.