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) , . In the 11th and 10th centuries B.C.E., its form was (which presumably was the prototype of Greek () → and Latin (P). The later West-Semitic variants are Hebrew (Samaritan ), Phoenician and Aramaic in the medial and in final positions. The latter forms are the ancestors of the Jewish (modern Heb.) and From the Nabatean (final) → (medial) developed the Arabic (the single diacritic mark distinguishes it from which developed from the qaf). See *Alphabet, Hebrew.

[Joseph Naveh]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.