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Has Paleo Hebrew (Ktav Ivri) Ever Been Found With Crowns? Whether we are talking about ancient scrolls, or amulets, or any type of ancient Hebrew writing.

  • Are you only asking if it had been found, or are you also interested in sources who state that it had been in use? – mevaqesh Oct 29 '17 at 17:49
  • This seems off topic. It isn't about Judaism. It is about whether anybody; Jew or gentile ever happened to write something in a particular script in a particular way. – mevaqesh Oct 29 '17 at 17:51
  • @mevaqesh - But I think what the OP is getting at is the fact that R' Akiva talks of the significance of the crowns on the letters, but scholars have said that the Ktav Ivri was used before the Ktav Ashurit. – ezra Oct 29 '17 at 18:11
  • @ezra all sorts of historical questions may be interesting to Jews, but at the moment this is history not Judaism. BTW finding a random amulet from 1500 years after r. Akiva would have no bearing whatsoever on his statement anyway. – mevaqesh Oct 29 '17 at 18:20
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    I'm not sure why your not asking whether Ktav Ashuri (Ancient Aramaic Alphabet) was ever found with crowns. As far as my knowledge goes they haven't been found with tagin either! – Bach Oct 29 '17 at 18:35
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In short, none have been found so far.

The earliest Ktav Ivri amulets found are the two Ketef Hinnom silver amulets from late First Temple days. A good description of them with pictures showing no taggin is here.

Taggin are not written any of the Ktav Ivri Dead Sea Scrolls(4qPaleo-XXXX, 11QPaleo-Leviticus, etc). A good picture of 11QPaleoleviticus is here, plainly showing no taggin. They are not found in any of their Ashuri tefillin parchments, either.

There may be a good reason for this situation, however - no complete or even incomplete actual Torah scrolls(having all five books and suitable for synagogue use) have been found in Ktav Ivri yet. This is probably because they were buried when they were worn out, and they were all worn out and replaced by Ashuri Torah scrolls sometime between the days of Ezra and the Second Temple's destruction. The Dead Sea Ivri Scrolls are only of one or two books together at most, and the sect followed their own rulings, usually in direct opposition to the Pharisees, who they referred to as "seekers of smooth things". The Pharisee leaders assumed taggin usage was very old, as evidenced by the midrash in Menachot 29b, with HaShem putting taggin on letters and R Akiva explaining them, but by then Ashuri was the standard script for Torah scrolls, mezuzot, and tefillin.

So that's it, none have been found yet, but who knows what'll be dug up next?

  • How do you know that none have been found. Is this your own impression, or have you seen this stated explicitly in a secondary source? – mevaqesh Oct 29 '17 at 18:52
  • @mevaqesh - I'm an archaeology nut, and try to keep up with the Journals and magazines on Biblical archaeology discoveries, of past centuries and recent. None of the oldest stuff has taggins, even in Ashuri, notably the Askar-Gilson Torah fragment from the 700's. – Gary Oct 29 '17 at 19:00
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    That is very interesting. Adding in that clarification would improve the post. +1 BTW. – mevaqesh Oct 29 '17 at 19:02
  • @mevaqesh - Thanks! But I'm no authority, just a really interested amateur...The Talmud says they were used, but due to persecutions and the ravages of time, they're going to be hard to find. Parchment deteriorates! Mezuzahs and tefillin are supposed to be checked every few years in modern times, and they go bad. Finding a good legible one from 1800 years ago, or 2300 years ago in Ivri, is going to be tough. – Gary Oct 29 '17 at 19:10
  • Are you saying that the Talmud says that Ktav Ivri had crowns? Where does the Talmud say that? Considering editing that into the post in addition to noting that you are sufficiently rooted in the archaeology world to confirm the dearth of Ivri-crown fragments. – mevaqesh Oct 29 '17 at 19:12

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