Thursday 16 February 2023 at 20h

Prof. Dr. Matthieu Richelle - Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve

Lecture in English. Lecture in room S.R.013, Rodestraat 14, 2000 Antwerp.

Free entrance. Please register by e-mail to

The script that serves to write Hebrew today, whether on manuscripts of the Torah or in daily life in Israel, has been used, with many variations and styles, for approximately two thousand years. But it is not the script that the inhabitants of Judah and Israel used during the monarchic period, which stretched from the tenth to the early sixth centuries B.C.E. Neither the scribes of Kings Hezekiah and Josiah nor their contemporaries who wrote early versions of some of the biblical books would have been able to read this alphabet. They used a different script: Old Hebrew (also called Paleo-Hebrew). What do we know of that script, its origins and its uses? Why was Old Hebrew abandoned and when? This paper attempts to answer these questions by telling the story of this little-known but beautiful script.

Matthieu Richelle (PhD, EPHE-Sorbonne; Habil, Université de Strasbourg) is Professor of Old Testament Exegesis at the Université catholique de Louvain, in Louvain-la-Neuve. He is a former student of the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem. His areas of research are the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible and ancient West-Semitic epigraphy. He has published sixty scholarly articles and four books, including The Bible and Archaeology, and Interpreting Israel’s Scriptures: A Practical Guide to the Exegesis of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament.