|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
The art of writing must have been known in the time of the early Pharaohs. Moses is commanded "to write for a memorial in a book" (Exodus 17:14) a record of the attack of Amalek. Frequent mention is afterwards made of writing (28:11, 21, 29, 36; 31:18; 32:15, 16; 34:1, 28; 39:6, 14, 30). The origin of this art is unknown, but there is reason to conclude that in the age of Moses it was well known. The inspired books of Moses are the most ancient extant writings, although there are written monuments as old as about B.C. 2000. The words expressive of "writing," "book," and "ink," are common to all the branches or dialects of the Semitic language, and hence it has been concluded that this art must have been known to the earliest Semites before they separated into their various tribes, and nations, and families.
"The Old Testament and the discoveries of Oriental archaeology alike tell us that the age of the Exodus was throughout the world of Western Asia an age of literature and books, of readers and writers, and that the cities of Palestine were stored with the contemporaneous records of past events inscribed on imperishable clay. They further tell us that the kinsfolk and neighbours of the Israelites were already acquainted with alphabetic writing, that the wanderers in the desert and the tribes of Edom were in contact with the cultured scribes and traders of Ma'in [Southern Arabia], and that the `house of bondage' from which Israel had escaped was a land where the art of writing was blazoned not only on the temples of the gods, but also on the dwellings of the rich and powerful.", Sayce. (see DEBIR; PHOENICIA.)
The "Book of the Dead" was a collection of prayers and formulae, by the use of which the souls of the dead were supposed to attain to rest and peace in the next world. It was composed at various periods from the earliest time to the Persian conquest. It affords an interesting glimpse into the religious life and system of belief among the ancient Egyptians. We learn from it that they believed in the existence of one Supreme Being, the immortality of the soul, judgement after death, and the resurrection of the body. It shows, too, a high state of literary activity in Egypt in the time of Moses. It refers to extensive libraries then existing. That of Ramessium, in Thebes, e.g., built by Rameses II., contained 20,000 books.
When the Hebrews entered Canaan it is evident that the art of writing was known to the original inhabitants, as appears, e.g., from the name of the city Debir having been at first Kirjath-sepher, i.e., the "city of the book," or the "book town" (Joshua 10:38; 15:15; Judges 1:11).
The first mention of letter-writing is in the time of David (2 Samuel 11:14, 15). Letters are afterwards frequently spoken of (1 Kings 21:8, 9, 11; 2 Kings 10:1, 3, 6, 7; 19:14; 2 Chronicles 21:12-15; 30:1, 6-9, etc.).
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (p. pr. & vb. n.) of Write.
2. (n.) The act or art of forming letters and characters on paper, wood, stone, or other material, for the purpose of recording the ideas which characters and words express, or of communicating them to others by visible signs.
3. (n.) Anything written or printed; anything expressed in characters or letters
4. (n.) Any legal instrument, as a deed, a receipt, a bond, an agreement, or the like.
5. (n.) Any written composition; a pamphlet; a work; a literary production; a book; as, the writings of Addison.
6. (n.) An inscription.
7. (n.) Handwriting; chirography.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
2. Inward Writing
3. Outward Writing
II. THE SYMBOLS
1. Object Writing
2. Image Writing
3. Picture Writing
4. Mnemonic Writing
5. Phonetic Writing
5. Gold and Silver
7. Bones and Skins
1. The Roll
2. The Codex
2. The Writing Art
VIII. HISTORY OF BIBLICAL HANDWRITING
1. Mythological Origins
2. Earliest Use
3. Biblical History
Writing is the art of recording thought, and recording is the making of permanent symbols. Concept, expression and record are three states of the same work or word. Earliest mankind expressed itself by gesture or voice and recorded in memory, but at a very early stage man began to feel the need of objective aids to memory and the need of transmitting a message to a distance or of leaving such a message for the use of others when he should be away or dead. For these purposes, in the course of time, he has invented many symbols, made in various ways, out of every imaginable material. These symbols, fixed in some substance, inward or outward, are writing as distinguished from oral speech, gesture language, or other unrecording forms of expression. In the widest sense writing thus includes, not only penmanship or chirography, but epigraphy, typography, phonography, photography, cinematography, and many other kinds of writing as well as mnemonic object writing and inward writing.
Writing has to do primarily with the symbols, but as these symbols cannot exist without being in some substance, and as they are often modified as to their form by the materials of which they are made or the instrument used in making, the history of writing has to do, not only with the signs, symbols or characters themselves, but with the material out of which they are made and the instruments and methods by which they are made.
2. Inward Writing:
The fact that memory is a real record is well known in modern psychology, which talks much of inward speech and inward writing. By inward writing is commonly meant the inward image or counterpart of visual or tangible handwriting as distinguished from the inward records of the sound of words, but the term fairly belongs to all inward word records. Of these permanent records two chief classes may be distinguished: sense records, whether the sense impression was by eye, ear, finger-tip or muscle, and motor records or images formed in the mind with reference to the motion of the hand or other organs of expression. Both sense records and meter records include the counterparts of every imaginable kind of outward handwriting.
We meet this inward writing in the Bible in the writing upon the tablets of the heart (Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 7:3 Jeremiah 17:1 2 Corinthians 3:3), which is thus not a mere figure of speech but a proper description of that effort to fix in memory which some effect by means of sound symbols and some by the sight symbols of ordinary handwriting.
It has also its interesting and important bearing on questions of inspiration and revelation where the prophet "hears" a voice (Exodus 19:19 Numbers 7:89 Revelation 19:1, 2) or "sees" a vision (2 Kings 6:17 Isaiah 6 Amos 7:1-9) or even sees handwriting (Revelation 17:5). This handwriting not only seems "real" but is real, whether caused by external sound or vision or internal human or superhuman action.
3. Outward Writing:
Outward writing includes many kinds of symbols produced in various ways in many kinds of material. The commonest kind is alphabetical handwriting with pen and ink on paper, but alphabetic symbols are not the only symbols, the hand is not the only means of producing symbols, the pen is not the only instrument, and ink and paper are far from being the only materials.
The ordinary ways of human expression are voice and gesture. Corresponding to these there is an oral writing and a gesture writing. For the recording of vocal sounds various methods have been invented: direct carving or molding in wax or other material, or translating into light vibrations and recording these by photograph or kymograph. Both phonographic and photographic records of sounds are strictly oral writing.
The record of gestures by making pictures of them forms a large fraction of primitive picture writing (e.g. the picture of a man with weapon poised to throw) and the modern cinematography of pantomime is simply a perfected form of this primitive picture writing.
Handwriting is simply hand gesture with a mechanical device for leaving a permanent record of its motion by a trail of ink or incision. In the evolution of expression the imitation of human action tends to reduce itself to sign language, where both arms and the whole body are used, and then to more and more conventionalized hand gesture. This hand gesture, refined, condensed and adapted to mechanical conditions, and provided with pencil, chisel, or pen and ink, is handwriting. Its nature is precisely analogous to that of the self-registering thermometer or kymograph.
Nearly all the great body of existing written documents, save for the relatively few modern phonographic, kymographic and other visible speech records, is handwritten, the symbols being produced, selected, arranged, or at least pointed out, by the hand. Even the so-called phonetic writing, as usually understood, is not sound record but consists of hand-gesture symbols for sounds.
II. The Symbols.
Among the many kinds of outward signs used in writing the best known are the so-called Phoenician alphabet and its many derivatives, including the usual modern alphabets. Other well-known varieties are the wedge system of Assyria and Babylonia, the hieroglyphic systems of Egypt and Mexico, the Chinese characters, stenographic systems, the Morse code, the Braille system, the abacus, the notched stick, the knotted cord, wampum and twig bundles. These, however, by no means exhaust the list of signs which have been used for record or message purposes; e.g. colored flags for signaling, pebbles, cairns, pillars, flowers, trees, fishes, insects, animals and parts of animals, human beings, and images of all these things, have all served as record symbols in writing.
The various symbols may be grouped as objects and images, each of these classes divided again into pictorial or representative signs and mnemonic or conventional signs, mnemonic signs again divided into ideographic and phonetic, and phonetic again into verbal, syllabic (consonantal), and alphabetic. This may be represented graphically as follows:
(2) Conventional (Mnemonic)
(a) Ideographic (Eye Images)
(b) Phonetic (Ear Images)
(2) Conventional (Mnemonic)
Objects may be whole objects (a man) or characteristic parts (human head, arm, leg) or samples (feather or piece of fur). The objects may be natural objects or artificial objects designed for another purpose (arrow), or objects designed especially to be used as writing symbols (colored flags). Images include images of all these objects and any imaginary images which may have been invented for writing purposes.
Pictorial or representative signs are distinguished from mnemonic or conventional signs by the fact that in themselves they suggest the thing meant, while the others require agreement beforehand as to what they shall mean. The fact, however, that the symbol is a picture of something does not make it pictorial or the writing picture writing. It is pictorial, not because it is a picture, but because it pictures something. The fact, e.g., that a certain symbol may be recognized as an ox does not make of this a pictograph. If it stands for or means an ox, it is a pictograph; if it stands for "divinity," it may be called an ideograph, or if it stands for the letter a it is phonetic, a phonogram.
The key to the evolution of writing symbols is to be found in a law of economy. Object writing undoubtedly came first, but man early learned that the image of an object would serve as well for record purposes and was much more convenient to handle. True picture writing followed. The same law of economy led to each of the other steps from pictorial to alphabetic, and may be traced in the history of each kind and part. Every alphabet exhibits it. The history of writing is in brief a history of shorthand. It begins with the whole object or image, passes to the characteristic part, reduces this to the fewest possible strokes which retain likeness, conventionalizes these strokes, and then, giving up all pretense of likeness to the original symbol, and frankly mnemonic, it continues the process of abbreviation until the whole ox has become the letter "a" or perhaps a single dot in some system of stenography.
Object writing is not common in the phonetic stage, but even this is found, for example, in alphabetical flags for ship signaling. The actual historical evolution of writing seems to have been object, image-picture, ideogram. phonogram, syllable, consonant, letter. All of these stages have some echoes at least in the Bible, although even the syllabic stage seems to have been already passed at the time of Moses. The Hebrew Old Testament as a whole stands for the consonantal stage and the Greek New Testament for the complete alphabetic-still the climax of handwriting, unless the evolution of mathematical symbols, which is a very elaborate evolution of ideographic handwriting, is so regarded.
Although probably not even a single sentence of the Hebrew Bible was written in ideographic, picture, or object handwriting, many documents which are used or quoted by Biblical writers were written by these methods, and all of them are repeatedly implied. In a number of cases full exegesis requires a knowledge of their nature and history. A certain number of scholars now believe that the Pentateuch was originally written in cuneiform, after the analogy of the circumstances shown by the Tell el-Amarna Letters. In this case of course there would still be traces both of the syllabic and ideographic, but theory is improbable.
1. Object Writing:
The most primitive writing was naturally pictorial object writing. When the hunter first brought home his quarry, this had in it most of the essential elements of modern handwriting. Those who remained at home read in the actual bodies the most essential record of the trip. When, further, the hunter brought back useless quarry to evidence his tale of prowess, the whole essence of handwriting was involved. This was whole-object record, but object abbreviations soon followed. Man early learned that skins represented whole animals (the determinative for "quadruped" in Egyptian is a hide), and that a reindeer's head or antlers, or any characteristic part, served the simple purpose of record just as well as the whole object, and this method of record survives in a modern hunting-lodge. The bounty on wolves' scalps and the expression "so many head of cattle" are similar survivals. In war, men returning hung the dead bodies of their enemies from the prows of their triumphal ships or from the walls of the city, and, in peace, from the gibbet, as object lessons. They soon learned, however, that a head would serve all practical purposes as well as a whole body, and the inhabitants of Borneo today practice their discovery. Then they discovered that a scalp was just as characteristic and more portable, and the scalp belt of the American Indian is the result. The ancient Egyptians counted the dead by "hands" carried away as trophies. Both objects and images tend thus to pass from the whole object to a characteristic part, then to the smallest characteristic part: from the tiger's carcass or stuffed tiger to the tiger's claw or its picture. The next or mnemonic step was taken when the simplest characteristic part was exchanged for a pebble, a twig, a notched stick, a knot, or any other object or image of an object which does not in itself suggest a tiger.
The pictorial object writing had an evolution of its own and reached a certain degree of complexity in elaborate personal adornment, in sympathetic magic, the medicine bag, the prayer stick, pillars, meteoric stones, etc., for worship, collections of liturgical objects, fetishes, votive offerings, trophies, etc.
It reached a still higher order of complexity when it passed into the mnemonic stage represented by the abacus, the knotted cord, the notched stick, the wampum, etc. The knotted cord may be recognized in the earliest hieroglyphic signs, is found still among primitive people, and its most famous example is the, Peruvian quipu. It still survives in the cardinal's hat and the custom of knotting a handkerchief for mnemonic purposes. It is found in the Bible in a peculiarly clear statement in the mnemonic "fringes" of Numbers 15:37-41 (compare Deuteronomy 22:12). The notched stick is equally old, as seen in the Australian message stick, and its best-known modern example is the tally of the British Exchequer. The abacus and the rosary are practically the lineal descendants of the pebble heap which has a concrete modern counterpart in the counting with pebbles by Italian shepherd boys. It is possible that the notched message stick has its echo in Judges 5:14 (military scribe's staff); Numbers 17:1-10 (Aaron's inscribed rod), and all scepters (rods of authority) and herald's wands.
2. Image Writing:
It was a very long step in the history of handwriting from object to image, from the trophy record to the trophy image record. The nature of this step may perhaps be seen in the account of the leopard-tooth necklace of an African chief described by Frobenius. In itself this was merely a complex trophy record-the tribal record of leopards slain. When, however, the chief took for his own necklace the actual trophy which some members of the tribe had won, while the hunter made a wooden model of the tooth which served him as trophy, this facsimile tooth became an image record. This same step from object to image is most familiar in the history of votive offerings, where the model is substituted for the object, the miniature model for the model, and finally a simple written inscription takes the place of the model. It is seen again in sympathetic magic when little wax or clay images are vicariously buried or drowned, standing for the person to be injured, and taking the place of sample parts, such as the lock of hair or nail-parings, etc., which are used in like manner by still more primitive peoples.
3. Picture Writing:
It was another long step in the evolution of symbols when it occurred to man that objects worn for record could be represented by paint upon the body. The origin of written characters is often sought in the practice of tattooing, but whatever truth there may be in this must be carried back one step, for it is generally agreed and must naturally have been the fact that body painting preceded tattooing, which is a device for making the record permanent. The transition from the object trophy to the image on the skin might easily have come from the object causing a pressure mark on the skin. There is good reason to believe that the wearing of trophies was the first use of record keeping.
It is of course not proved that body ornaments or body marks are the original of image writing or that trophies are the earliest writing, nor yet that models of trophies or votive offerings were the first step in image writing. It may be that the first images were natural objects recognized as resembling other objects. The Zuni Indians used for their chief fetishes natural rock forms. The first step may have been some slight modification of natural stone forms into greater resemblance, such as is suggested by the slightly modified sculptures of the French-Spanish caves. Or again the tracks of animals in clay may have suggested the artificial production of these tracks or other marks, and the development of pottery and pottery marks may have been the main line of evolution. The Chinese trace the origin of their symbols to bird tracks. Or again smear marks of earth or firebrand or blood may have suggested marks on stone, and the marked pebbles of the Pyrenean caves may have reference to this. Or yet again the marks on the animals in the Pyrenean caves may have been ownership marks and point back to a branding of marks or a primitive tattooing by scarification.
Whatever the exact point or motive for the image record may have been, and however the transition was made, the idea once established had an extensive development which is best illustrated by the picture writing of the American Indians, though perhaps to be found in the Bushmen drawings, petroglyphs, and picture writing the world over. It is almost historic in the Sumerian and the Egyptian, whose phonetic symbols are pictographic in origin at least and whose determinatives are true pictographs.
4. Mnemonic Writing:
The transition from pictorial to conventional or mnemonic takes place when the sign ceases to suggest the meaning directly, even after explanation. This happens in two ways: (1) when an object or image stands for something not directly related to that naturally suggested, e.g., when a stuffed fox stands for a certain man because it is his totem, or an ox's head stands for divinity or for the sound "a," or when the picture of a goose stands for "son" in the Egyptian because the sounds of the two words are the same; (2) when by the natural process of shorthanding the object or image has been reduced beyond the point of recognition. Historically, the letter a is ox (or goat?); actually it means a certain sound.
When this unrecognizable or conventional sign is intended to suggest a visual image it is called an ideogram, when an ear picture, a phonogram. Anybody looking casually over a lot of Egyptian hieroglyphics can pick out kings' names because of the oval line or cartouche in which they are enclosed. This cartouche is ideagraphic. On the other hand the pictures of a sun, two chicks, and a cerastes within the cartouche have nothing to do with any of these objects, but stand for the sounds kufu-who is the person commonly known as Cheops. This is phonetic. Both old Babylonian and Egyptian show signs of picture origin, but the earliest Babylonian is mainly ideographic, and both developed soon into the mixed stage of phonetic writing with determinatives.
5. Phonetic Writing:
Phonetic writing seems to have developed out of the fact that in all languages the same sound often has many different meanings. In English "goose" may mean the fowl or the tailor's goose. In Egyptian the sound "sa" or "s", with a smooth breathing, means "goose" or "son," and the picture of a goose means either.
Whether the word-sign is an ideogram or a phonogram is a matter of psychology. Many modern readers even glimpse a word as a whole and jump to the visual image without thinking of sounds at all. To them it is an ideagram. Others, however, have to spell out the sounds, even moving their lips to correspond. To them as to the writer it is a phonogram. The same was true of the ancient picture or ideagraphic sign. The word-sign was ideagram or phonogram according to intention or to perception.
With the transition to syllabic writing, record became chiefly phonetic. The transition was made apparently by an entirely natural evolution from the practice of using the same word-sign for several different objects having the same sound, and it proceeded by the way of rebus, as shown in Mexican and Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Syllabic writing implies a symbol for every monosyllable. It was a great step therefore when it was discovered that the number of sounds was small and could be represented by individual symbols, as compound words could by syllable signs. At first only consonants were written. In the Semitic languages vowels were at first not written at all-possibly they were not even recognized, and one might use any vowel with a particular combination of consonants. However that may be, what many prefer to call consonantal writing seems to have existed for 2,000 years before the vowels were recognized and regularly introduced into the Phoenician alphabet. It is at this stage that alphabetic writing, as usually reckoned, began.
Phonetic consonantal writing has now been in use some 5,000 years and strict alphabetic writing some 3,000 years, almost to the exclusion of other forms. The characters in use today in several hundred alphabets are probably the historical descendants, with accumulation of slight changes through environment, of characters existing from near the beginning.
Alongside the development of the historic system of symbols, there has been, still within the field of alphabetic writing for the most part, a parallel line with multitudes of shorthand and cryptographic systems. An equally great multitude of code systems are in effect phonetic words or sentences and cryptographically or otherwise used for cable or telegraph, diplomatic letters, criminal correspondence and other secret purposes.
Roughly speaking, the ways of making symbols, apart from the selection of the ready-made, may be reduced to two which correspond to art in the round or in three dimensions and art in the flat or in two dimensions. The former appeals to eye or touch, affording a contrast by elevation or depression, while the latter produces the same effect by contrasting colors on a flat surface.
Written symbols in three dimensions are produced either by cutting or by pressure. In the case of hard material superfluous matter is removed by sculpture, engraving or die cutting. In the case of plastic or malleable material, it is modeled, molded, hammered or stamped into the required form. To the first form belongs the bulk of stone inscriptions, ancient metal inscriptions, scratched graffiti, wax tablets, etc., to the later clay tablets, votive figurines, seal impressions, hammered inscriptions, minted coins, also molded inscriptions, coins and medals, etc. Several of the Hebrew and Greek words for writing imply cutting (chaqaq, charaT, charash, etc.; grapho).
Symbols in two dimensions are produced either by drawing or printing, both of which methods consist in the applying of some soft or liquid material to a material of a contrasting color or cutting from thin material and laying on. Drawing applies the material in a continuous or interrupted line of paint, charcoal, colored chalk, graphite, ink or other material. Its characteristic product is the manuscript. This laying on is implied, as some think (Blau, 151), in the commonest Hebrew word for writing (kathabh). Tattooing (Deuteronomy 14:1 Leviticus 19:28, etc.), embroidery (embroidered symbolic figures, Exodus 28:33, 34) and weaving belong in this class (embroidered words in Palestine Talmud 20a, quoted by Blau, 165).
Printing consists in laying the contrasting color on by means of stencil or pressure, forming symbols in two dimensions at one stroke. Perhaps the most primitive form of printing is that of the pintadoes, by which the savage impresses war paint or other ceremonial forms on his face and body. Branding also belongs in this class (Galatians 6:17, figuratively; 3 Maccabees 2:19; branding on the forehead, Code of Hammurabi, section 127; branding a slave, Code of Hammurabi, sections 226, 227).
These processes of cutting, molding, drawing and printing roughly correspond with inscriptions, coins, medals, seals, manuscripts, and printed documents-epigraphy, numismatics, sigillography, chirography, typography.
The commonest instruments of ancient writing were the pen, brush and style. Other instruments are: the various tools for modeling, molds, stencils, dies, stamps, needles, engraving tools, compass, instruments for erasure, for the ruling of lines, vessels for ink or water, etc. Several of these are mentioned and others are implied in the Bible. The chisel which cuts and the stylus which scratches are both called stylus or simply the "iron" (the iron pen). The graving tool of Exodus 32:4, the iron pen of Job 19:24, the pen of Isaiah 8:1, the pen of iron of Jeremiah 17:1, and, with less reason, the pencil of Isaiah 44:13, are all commonly interpreted as stilus or style, but they are sometimes at least cutting rather than scratching tools. References to wooden tablets also imply the style, and references to clay tablets either the style proper or a similar instrument for pressure marks. The point of a diamond in Jeremiah 17:1, whether it is joined with the pen of iron or not, seems to refer to the use of corundum in the engraving of precious stones. The passages which refer to blotting out (see below) or writing on papyrus (see below) or refer to an ink-horn or ink (see respective articles) imply a pen or brush rather than style, and presumably the writing of the New Testament implied in general a reed pen. The wide house "painted with vermilion" (Jeremiah 22:14) implies the brush, but there is no direct evidence of its use in writing in the Bible itself. The existing ostraca from Ahab's palace are, however, done with the brush. The pencil (seredh) mentioned in Isaiah 44:13 certainly means some instrument for shaping, but is variously translated as "line" (the King James Version), "red ochre" (Revised Version margin), and even "stilus," or "line-marking stilus" (paragraphis Aquila). The compass, often referred to in classical times, is found in Isaiah 44:13. The line ruler (paragraphis), referred to by Aquila (Isaiah 44:13), and the simple plummet as well were probably used, as in later times, for marking lines. The needle is referred to in late Hebrew and needlework in the Bible (see III, above). The ink-horn or water vessel for moistening the dry inks is implied in all papyrus or leather writing.
The Hebrew term translated "weight of lead" in Zechariah 5:8, and "talent of lead" is precisely equivalent to the Greek term for the circular plate of lead (kuklomolibdos) used for ruling lines, but something heavier than the ruling lead seems meant.
Erasure or blotting out is called for in Numbers 5:23, and often figuratively (Exodus 32:32, 33 Revelation 3:5, etc.). If writing was on papyrus, this would call for the sponge rather than the penknife as an eraser, but the latter, which is used for erasure or for making reed pens, is referred to in Jeremiah 36:23. For erasing waxed surfaces the blunt end of the style was used certainly as early as the New Testament times. Systematic erasure when vellum was scarce produced the palimpsest.
The materials used in writing include almost every imaginable substance, mineral, vegetable, and animal: gold, silver, copper, bronze, clay, marble, granite, precious gems, leaves, bark, wooden planks, many vegetable complexes, antlers, shoulder-blades, and all sorts of bones of animals, and especially skins. The commonest are stone, clay, metal, papyrus, paper and leather, including vellum, and all of these except paper are mentioned in the Bible. Paper too must be reckoned with in textual criticism, and it was its invention which, perhaps more even than the discovery of printing with movable type, made possible the enormous multiplication of copies of the Bible in recent times.
Whatever may be the fact as to the first material used for record purposes, the earliest actual records now existing in large quantities are chiefly on clay or stone, and, on the whole, clay records seem to antedate and surpass in quantity stone inscriptions for the earliest historical period. After making all allowances for differences in dating and accepting latest dates, there is an immense quantity of clay records written before 2500 B.C. and still existing. About 1400 or 1500 B.C. the clay tablet was in common use from Crete to the extreme East and all over Palestine, everywhere, in short, but Egypt and it seems perhaps to have been the material for foreign diplomatic communications, even in Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of these tablets have been dug up, and undoubtedly millions are in existence, dug or undug. These are chiefly of Mesopotamia. The most famous of these tablets were for a long time of the later period from the library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh. SeeLIBRARY OF NINEVEH. Recently, however those from Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, Boghaz-keui in the Hittite country, and a few from Palestine itself vie with these in interest. Most of these tablets are written on both sides and in columns ruled in lines. They measure from an inch to a foot and a half in length and are about two-thirds as wide as they are long. Many of these tablets, the so-called "case tablets," are surrounded with another layer of clay with a docketing inscription. SeeTABLETS. Other clay forms are the potsherd ostraca; now being dug up in considerable quantities in Palestine Ezekiel (4:1) and perhaps Jeremiah (17:13) refer to this material.
Stones were used for record before image writing was invented-as cairns, pillars, pebbles, etc. Many of the early and primitive image records are on the walls of caves or on cliffs (Bushmen, American Indians, etc.). Sometimes these are sculptured, sometimes made by charcoal, paint, etc. The durability rather than the more extensive use of stone makes of these documents the richest source for our knowledge of ancient times.
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Writing (194 Occurrences)
Matthew 5:31 "It was also said,'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,' (WEB KJV ASV BBE WBS YLT)
Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? (KJV BBE WBS)
Matthew 27:37 And they put up over his head the statement of his crime in writing, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (BBE)
Mark 10:4 And they said to him, Moses let us give her a statement in writing, and be free from her. (BBE)
Mark 12:10 Have you not seen this which is in the Writings: The stone which the builders put on one side, the same was made the chief stone of the building: (Root in BBE YLT)
Mark 15:26 Over His head was the notice in writing of the charge against Him: THE KING OF THE JEWS. (WEY BBE)
Mark 15:28 and the Writing was fulfilled that is saying, 'And with lawless ones he was numbered.' (WBS)
Luke 1:3 It seemed good to me, having made observation, with great care, of the direction of events in their order, to put the facts in writing for you, most noble Theophilus; (BBE)
Luke 1:63 He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is John." They all marveled. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS RSV NIV)
Luke 4:21 And he began to say unto them -- 'To-day hath this writing been fulfilled in your ears;' (YLT)
Luke 16:6 And he said, A hundred baths of oil. And he said to him, Take thy writing and sit down quickly and write fifty. (DBY)
Luke 16:7 Then he said to another, And thou, how much dost thou owe? And he said, A hundred cors of wheat. And he says to him, Take thy writing and write eighty. (DBY)
Luke 23:38 There was moreover a writing over His head: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (WEY BBE)
John 1:45 Philip came across Nathanael and said to him, We have made a discovery! It is he of whom Moses, in the law, and the prophets were writing, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (BBE)
John 2:22 So when he had come back again from the dead, the memory of these words came back to the disciples, and they had faith in the holy Writings and in the word which Jesus had said. (Root in BBE YLT)
John 7:38 He who has faith in me, out of his body, as the Writings have said, will come rivers of living water. (Root in BBE YLT)
John 7:42 Do not the Writings say that the Christ comes of the seed of David and from Beth-lehem, the little town where David was? (Root in BBE YLT)
John 8:6 and this they said, trying him, that they might have to accuse him. And Jesus, having stooped down, with the finger he was writing on the ground, (YLT)
John 8:8 and again having stooped down, he was writing on the ground, (YLT)
John 10:35 If he said they were gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Writings may not be broken), (Root in BBE YLT)
John 13:18 I am not talking of you all: I have knowledge of my true disciples, but things are as they are, so that the Writings may come true, The foot of him who takes bread with me is lifted up against me. (Root in BBE YLT)
John 15:25 This comes about so that the writing in their law may be made true, Their hate for me was without cause. (BBE)
John 17:12 While I was with them I kept them safe in your name which you have given to me: I took care of them and not one of them has come to destruction, but only the son of destruction, so that the Writings might come true. (Root in BBE YLT)
John 19:19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. (KJV BBE WBS)
John 19:20 The writing was seen by a number of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was put to death on the cross was near the town; and the writing was in Hebrew and Latin and Greek. (BBE)
John 19:22 But Pilate made answer, What I have put in writing will not be changed. (BBE)
John 19:28 After this, being conscious that all things had now been done so that the Writings might come true, Jesus said, Give me water. (Root in BBE YLT)
John 19:36 These things came about so that the Writings might be true, No bone of his body will be broken. (Root in BBE YLT)
John 19:37 and again another Writing saith, 'They shall look to him whom they did pierce.' (YLT)
John 20:9 For at that time they had no knowledge that the Writings said that he would have to come again from the dead. (Root in BBE YLT)
John 21:24 This is the disciple who gives witness about these things and who put them in writing: and we have knowledge that his witness is true. (BBE)
Acts 1:16 Men, brethren, it behoved this Writing that it be fulfilled that beforehand the Holy Spirit spake through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who became guide to those who took Jesus, (YLT)
Acts 8:32 And the contents of the Writing that he was reading was this: 'As a sheep unto slaughter he was led, and as a lamb before his shearer dumb, so he doth not open his mouth; (YLT)
Acts 8:35 So Philip, starting from this writing, gave him the good news about Jesus. (BBE YLT)
Acts 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves will also tell you the same things by word of mouth. (See NIV)
Acts 17:23 For when I came by, I was looking at the things to which you give worship, and I saw an altar with this writing on it, TO THE GOD OF WHOM THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE. Now, what you, without knowledge, give worship to, I make clear to you. (BBE)
Acts 25:26 I have nothing very definite, however, to tell our Sovereign about him. So I have brought the man before you all--and especially before you, King Agrippa--that after he has been examined I may find something which I can put into writing. (WEY BBE)
Romans 4:3 But what does it say in the holy Writings? And Abraham had faith in God, and it was put to his account as righteousness. (Root in BBE YLT)
Romans 7:1 Brethren, do you not know--for I am writing to people acquainted with the Law--that it is during our lifetime that we are subject to the Law? (WEY)
Romans 9:17 For the holy Writings say to Pharaoh, For this same purpose did I put you on high, so that I might make my power seen in you, and that there might be knowledge of my name through all the earth. (Root in BBE YLT)
Romans 10:5 For Moses lays down in writing the righteousness which is of the law, The man who has practised those things shall live by them. (DBY)
Romans 10:11 Because it is said in the holy Writings, Whoever has faith in him will not be shamed. (Root in BBE YLT)
Romans 11:2 God has not put away the people of his selection. Or have you no knowledge of what is said about Elijah in the holy Writings? how he says words to God against Israel, (Root in BBE YLT)
Romans 15:4 Now those things which were put down in writing before our time were for our learning, so that through quiet waiting and through the comfort of the holy Writings we might have hope. (BBE YLT)
Romans 15:15 But I have, in some measure, less fear in writing to you to put these things before you again, because of the grace which was given to me by God, (BBE)
Romans 16:22 I, Tertius, who have done the writing of this letter, send love in the Lord. (BBE)
1 Corinthians 4:14 I am not writing all this to shame you, but I am offering you advice as my dearly-loved children. (WEY NIV)
1 Corinthians 9:15 But I have not made use of any of these things: and I am not writing this in the hope that it may be so for me: for it would be better for me to undergo death, than for any man to make this pride of mine of no effect. (BBE NAS RSV NIV)
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things were done as an example; and were put down in writing for our teaching, on whom the last days have come. (BBE)
1 Corinthians 14:37 If any one deems himself to be a Prophet or a man with spiritual gifts, let him recognize as the Lord's command all that I am now writing to you. (WEY BBE RSV NIV)
1 Corinthians 16:21 I, Paul, send you these words of love in my writing. (BBE)
2 Corinthians 1:13 For we are writing to you nothing different from what we have written before, or from what indeed you already recognize as truth and will, I trust, recognize as such to the very end; (WEY)
2 Corinthians 2:9 For in writing to you I have also this object in view--to discover by experience whether you are prepared to be obedient in every respect. (WEY)
2 Corinthians 3:2 You yourselves are our letter, whose writing is in our heart, open for every man's reading and knowledge; (BBE)
2 Corinthians 9:1 For concerning the ministration which is for the saints, it is superfluous my writing to you. (DBY)
2 Corinthians 13:10 For this cause I am writing these things while I am away, so that there may be need for me, when I am present, to make use of sharp measures, by the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for destruction. (BBE NAS)
Galatians 1:20 Now God is witness that the things which I am writing to you are true. (BBE NAS RSV NIV)
Galatians 3:8 And the holy Writings, seeing before the event that God would give the Gentiles righteousness by faith, gave the good news before to Abraham, saying, In you will all the nations have a blessing. (Root in BBE YLT)
Galatians 3:22 However, the holy Writings have put all things under sin, so that that for which God gave the undertaking, based on faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who have such faith. (Root in BBE YLT)
Galatians 4:30 What then do the Writings say? Send away the servant-woman and her son; for the son of the servant-woman will not have a part in the heritage with the son of the free woman. (Root in BBE YLT)
Galatians 6:11 See in what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. (WEY BBE NAS RSV)
Philippians 3:1 For the rest, my brothers, be glad in the Lord. Writing the same things to you is no trouble to me, and for you it is safe. (BBE)
1 Thessalonians 4:9 And concerning the brotherly love, ye have no need of 'my' writing to you, for ye yourselves are God-taught to love one another, (YLT)
1 Thessalonians 5:1 And concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need of my writing to you, (YLT)
2 Thessalonians 3:17 These words of love to you at the end are in my writing, Paul's writing, and this is the mark of every letter from me. (BBE)
1 Timothy 3:14 I am writing these things to you, though I am hoping to come to you before long; (BBE NAS RSV NIV)
1 Timothy 5:18 For the Writings say, It is not right to keep the ox from taking the grain when he is crushing it. And, The worker has a right to his reward. (Root in BBE YLT)
2 Timothy 3:16 Every holy Writing which comes from God is of profit for teaching, for training, for guiding, for education in righteousness: (BBE YLT)
Philemon 1:19 I, Paul, writing this myself, say, I will make payment to you: and I do not say to you that you are in debt to me even for your life. (BBE NAS NIV)
Philemon 1:21 Being certain that you will do my desire, I am writing to you, in the knowledge that you will do even more than I say. (BBE)
Hebrews 2:5 For he did not make the angels rulers over the world to come, of which I am writing. (BBE)
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the agreement which I will make with the people of Israel after those days: I will put my laws into their minds, writing them in their hearts: and I will be their God, and they will be my people: (BBE)
Hebrews 9:4 Having a vessel of gold in it for burning perfumes, and the ark of the agreement, which was covered with gold and which had in it a pot made of gold for the manna, and Aaron's rod which put out buds, and the stones with the writing of the agreement; (BBE)
Hebrews 10:16 This is the agreement which I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws in their hearts, writing them in their minds; he said, (BBE)
James 2:8 But if you keep the greatest law of all, as it is given in the holy Writings, Have love for your neighbour as for yourself, you do well: (Root in BBE YLT)
James 2:23 And the holy Writings were put into effect which said, And Abraham had faith in God and it was put to his account as righteousness; and he was named the friend of God. (Root in BBE YLT)
James 4:5 Or does it seem to you that it is for nothing that the holy Writings say, The spirit which God put into our hearts has a strong desire for us? (Root in BBE YLT)
1 Peter 2:6 Because it is said in the Writings, See, I am placing a keystone in Zion, of great and special value; and the man who has faith in him will not be put to shame. (Root in BBE YLT)
2 Peter 1:20 this first knowing, that no prophecy of the Writing doth come of private exposition, (YLT)
2 Peter 3:1 This letter which I am now writing to you, dear friends, is my second letter. In both my letters I seek to revive in your honest minds the memory of certain things, (WEY NAS)
1 John 1:4 And we are writing these things to you so that our joy may be made complete. (BBE RSV)
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may be without sin. And if any man is a sinner, we have a friend and helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright one: (BBE NAS RSV)
1 John 2:7 Brethren, a new command I write not to you, but an old command, that ye had from the beginning -- the old command is the word that ye heard from the beginning; (See NAS RSV NIV)
1 John 2:8 again, a new command I write to you, which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness doth pass away, and the true light doth now shine; (See NAS RSV NIV)
1 John 2:12 I am writing to you, dear children, because for His sake your sins are forgiven you. (WEY BBE NAS RSV)
1 John 2:13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has existed from the very beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the Evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. (WEY BBE NAS RSV)
1 John 2:26 I am writing these things to you about those whose purpose is that you may be turned out of the true way. (BBE NIV)
1 John 5:13 I have put these things in writing for you who have faith in the name of the Son of God, so that you may be certain that you have eternal life. (BBE)
2 John 1:5 And now, dear lady, I pray you--writing to you, as I do, not a new command, but the one which we have had from the very beginning--let us love one another. (WEY DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
3 John 1:13 I have a great deal to say to you, but I do not wish to go on writing it with ink and pen. (WEY)
Revelation 1:19 Put in writing, then, the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will be after these; (BBE)
Revelation 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the high seat, a book with writing inside it and on the back, shut with seven stamps of wax. (BBE NIV)
Revelation 10:4 And when the seven thunders had given out their voices, I was about to put their words down: and a voice from heaven came to my ears, saying, Keep secret the things which the seven thunders said, and do not put them in writing. (BBE)
Revelation 14:13 And a voice from heaven came to my ears, saying, Put in writing, There is a blessing on the dead who from now on come to their end in the Lord: yes, says the Spirit, that they may have rest from their troubles; for their works go with them. (BBE)
Revelation 19:12 And his eyes are a flame of fire, and crowns are on his head; and he has a name in writing, of which no man has knowledge but himself. (BBE)
Exodus 24:4 Then Moses put down in writing all the words of the Lord, and he got up early in the morning and made an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. (BBE)
Exodus 24:12 And the Lord said to Moses, Come up to me on the mountain, and take your place there: and I will give you the stones on which I have put in writing the law and the orders, so that you may give the people knowledge of them. (BBE)
Exodus 31:18 And when his talk with Moses on Mount Sinai was ended, he gave him the two stones of the law, two stones on which was the writing made by the finger of God. (BBE)
Exodus 32:15 Then Moses came down the mountain with the two stones of the law in his hand; the stones had writing on their two sides, on the front and on the back. (BBE)
Exodus 32:16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tables. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)