Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Why do Jews read from right to left?

16 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    That's how the original alphebet-the Proto-orthanography that developed into the Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Latin alphabets- originally was, you know :) ?

    The 'Latin' alphabet that you are now using was, at one time, written right to left by the Phonecians (who could be pretty much anyone living east of Greece at the time...). These were an eastern People, who's alphabet was preserved in many Eastern languages (in a more intact form).The Greeks took it up, altering some symbols, using some symbols that refered to non-native Greek sounds for vowels (the original alphabet had diacritics for this purpose, so does Hebrew, but the phonological/morphological structure of Greek does not facilitate this), and eventually used a process called boustrophedon (refering to the back-and-forth movements of plowing a field) to read from right to left, left to right, then right to left. This is still evident in very early Greek texts. Eventually, this hardened into a pure left-to-right style of writing. The Etruscans living in Italy adopted the Greek alphabet (both they and the Greeks were in contact for a while-the Greeks pretty much lived on the whole of South Italy, Magna Graecia, before the Romans took over), made their own alterations. They then passed the baton to the Romans (one of many Etruscan traditions to go to the Romans-others included the toga and gladiatorial practices), who, several steps later, sent it to Germanic languages. Germanic peoples added runes, took them away, tinkered with the alphebet, got conquered by the Normans (who added to it), drove the Normans out, and somehow got the current alphebet we are using out of it.

    So, the Hebrew alphabet reads that way because it is more conservative than the one we are now using.


    Source(s): Linguist
  • 1 decade ago

    The Hebrew language is read from right to left, as are many other languages. If a Jew reads Hebrew it is from right to left. If he or she reads English, Spanish, French etc, it is from left to right like everyone else.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Jews don't read from right to left unless they are reading in Hebrew. It's because the Hebrew language goes from right to left.

  • Bill C
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    All writing was originally right to left. The Greek alphabet was adapted from a Semitic alphabet. At first, the Greeks read right to left, then they developed a system called boustrophedon ("as the ox plows"), in which one line would be right to left, then next left to right. In time, this was abandoned in favor of left to right, which the later Romance languages all use. Most Semitic languages, however, are still right to left, including Hebrew, Arabic, and Aramaic. Yiddish is also right to left.

    Source(s): Hebrew teacher
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You mean why is Hebrew read from right to left?

    It's how it's written... It's mainly the Western society that reads from left to right.

    Agreeing with Apeman..... Jews are a people, and they speak MANY languages.

  • Mrs. C
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Who cares? Its the way you read Hebrew. Why all the Jew questions?

    Why do gentiles watch so much porn? Do they get off from left to right? Or the other way around?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I have wondered that myself. It just seems logical for a right-handed person to write from left to right.

    Maybe it has to do with writing on scrolls instead of books. The scroll was unrolled from left to right, so it was easier to write up to the scroll instead of away from it. What we think of as a book, a stack of pages fastened at one end, dates only back to the beginning of the Christian era. In fact all the earliest scraps of papyrus found of Christian writings are written on both sides, suggesting they were from a 'codex', i.e. a bound book, not a scroll.

  • 1 decade ago

    'Cause that's how Hebrew is written.

    By the way, you're not a 'hebrew'. There are no such people, unless you belong to one of those bizarre evangelical groups that goes round insisting they are the 'real hebrews'.

    Jews used to be called Hebrews. You're not Jewish, by your own admission, thus you shouldn't call yourself a 'hebrew'!

  • 1 decade ago

    Because a great many Asian languages are written right to left: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic. The ancient Israelites didn't want to look odd.

  • 1 decade ago

    why do we read left to right?

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