PE (Heb. פ, ף ;פֵּא), the 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet; its numerical value is 80. In the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions this letter seems to be represented by the drawing of either a mouth (peh) or corner (pê'āh) \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1740\>\> , \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1741\>\> . In the 11th and 10th centuries B.C.E., its form was \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1742\>\> (which presumably was the prototype of Greek ( \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1743\>\> ) → and Latin (P). The later West-Semitic variants are Hebrew \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1744\>\> (Samaritan \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1745\>\> ), Phoenician \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1746\>\> and Aramaic \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1747\>\> → \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1748\>\> in the medial and \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1749\>\> in final positions. The latter forms are the ancestors of the Jewish (modern Heb.) \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1750\>\> and \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1751\>\> From the Nabatean \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1752\>\> (final) → \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1753\>\> (medial) developed the Arabic \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1754\>\> (the single diacritic mark distinguishes it from \!ejud\_0002\_0015\_0\_img1755\>\> which developed from the qaf). See Alphabet, Hebrew\>\> . (Joseph Naveh)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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