I’ve written a more popular essay* on the early alphabet over at The Bible and Interpretation. Go there for a bit of light reading.
*Even my popular essays have footnotes. I will not claim that this is some inherently good thing. As I wrote the essay, I began to wonder if I’d lost the ability to write for those who aren’t specialists in my field. Perhaps someday I’ll write a “Biblical Hebrew Grammar for Dummies” without a single footnote. Speaking of which, a departed friend and colleague once told me that best thing about emeritus status was no longer needing to support every idea in an article with footnotes! He showed me his last article, and it didn’t contain a single one. By the way, if you’re wondering, I wrote this footnote simply for the fun of it and for the “meta-ness” of it all (for inspiration, see below, M. Fox, “On Footnotes, Hebrew Studies 1987).