Thinking of Getting a Hebrew Tattoo? Better Do Some Research!
Hebrew (called Ivrit in Hebrew) is said to be one of the oldest languages in the world. It was originally written with a pictographic script but has evolved over time. There are 4 periods of Hebrew throughout history. It has always been known as a holy language and has been used in prayer, sacred study, meditation and other spiritual and religious outlets for the past 2000 years.
Even the word for letter, which is “Ot” means sign or wonder, so you can begin to see the many religious affiliations. It’s also becoming a pretty big trend in the tattoo industry. Hebrew started out with no vowels and they weren’t introduced into the language until the 2nd half of the first millennium, therefore there are no vowels found in the Torah or in most ancient religious documents.
The four main periods of Hebrew Tattoo are:
* Biblical Hebrew Tattoo also known as Classical Hebrew which was used in synagogues and temples for worship and studies. It is not commonly spoken in it’s pure form anymore but it is taught in many public schools in Israel and it’s use continues in religious texts.
* Mishnaic Hebrew Tattoo is the next phase of the language and it descended right from Biblical Hebrew. Although there are similarities, the differences are found in some of the grammar and vocab. Later, it was no longer in use as an oral language.
* Medieval Hebrew Tattoo came next and it was used to translate Arabic works into Hebrew. It was quite different from the older forms of Hebrew and was created out of a desire to express scientific and philosophical ideas and concepts from Classical Greek and Medieval Arabic and consequently borrowed grammar and terminology from these languages.
* Modern Hebrew Tattoo is the last and has been used from the 19th C. to the present. It is spoken by more than 7 million people and Israel and has borrowed and adopted terms from Yiddish, Arabic, Russian, Aramaic, and English among some European languages.
Now that you’ve got a little history on the Hebrew language, you’re going to want to figure out what you want to write. Once that’s done, hopefully you can find someone that knows Hebrew quite well just so you can double-check to make sure all your tattoo lettering will be written correctly. There are many Hebrew books and also a lot of online resources that can help you in choosing a specific style of writing.
Like I said, just make sure you check with someone who’s educated on literary Hebrew so that the tattoo you wanted to say: “I am my love’s, and my love is mine, which browses among the lilies” (from Songs of Solomon 6:3, which is Vicky B’s tattoo), doesn’t end up saying, “I eat cheeseburgers, while laying on my couch, watching TV.” Better luck next time.
Thinking of Getting a Hebrew Lettering Tattoo?