Language Contact, Colonial Administration, and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Israel

Constructing the Context for Contact


Author: Samuel L. Boyd
In Language Contact, Colonial Administration, and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Israel, Boyd addresses a long-standing critical issue in biblical scholarship: how does the production of the Bible relate to its larger historical, linguistic, and cultural settings in the ancient Near East? Using theoretical advances in the study of language contact, he examines in detail the sociolinguistic landscape during the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Achaemenid periods. Boyd then places the language and literature of Ezekiel and Isaiah in this sociolinguistic landscape. Language Contact, Colonial Administration, and the Construction of Identity in Ancient Israel offers the first book-length incorporation of language contact theory with data from the Bible. As a result, it allows for a reexamination of the nature of contact between biblical authors and a series of Mesopotamian empires beginning with Assyria.

The Harvard Semitic Monographs series publishes volumes from the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East. Other series offered by Brill that publish volumes from the Museum include Harvard Semitic Studies and Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant,

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Samuel L. Boyd, Ph.D. (Chicago, 2014) is assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has published articles relating to source criticism, Semitic philology, and the reception history of biblical texts.
Abbreviations of Biblical Books and Other Ancient Sources
Abbreviations for Linguistic Glosses and Terms
Abbreviations Used in Citations and Bibliography

1 Introduction and Scope of the Project
 1.1 Contact, Colonization, and the Bible
 1.2 The Comparative Method, Language Contact, and Biblical Studies: an Overview
 1.3 The Comparative Method and the Search for the Scribe
 1.4 Contact in the Hebrew Bible: Linguistic Approaches
 1.5 Scope and Purpose of This Book

2 Contact Linguistics: Methodological Introduction and Sociolinguistic Considerations
 2.1 Introduction to Contact Linguistics
 2.2 The Study of Language Contact in Its Initial Phases: Coming to Grips with History, Culture, and Power
 2.3 Brief History of Contact Linguistics as a Field of Study in Modern Times
 2.4 Major Types of Contact and Debates in the Field
 2.5 Can Language Contact Theory Be Applied to Ancient Languages?
 2.6 Conclusion

3 Setting the Sociohistorical Context: the Akkadian-Aramaic Situation
 3.1 Historical Background for Contact
 3.2 Scribes and Corroborating Evidence for Aramaic/Akkadian Contact
 3.3 Assyrian Colonial Policy and the Role of Local Vernaculars
 3.4 Bukhan and Sefire, VTE and D
 3.5 Legal Texts, Genre, and Limits of Contact
 3.6 Texts and Translations
 3.7 Conclusion

4 Linguistic Evidences of Language Contact between Aramaic and Akkadian and Their Implications
 4.1 A Linguistic Definition of Aramaic
 4.2 Akkadian and Aramaic Contact: the Linguistic Data
 4.3 Lexical and Structural Contact-Induced Changes
 4.4 The Linguistic Processes of Akkadian/Aramaic Contact
 4.5 Conclusion

5 Language Contact and the Book of Ezekiel
 5.1 Historical Background and the Study of the Book of Ezekiel
 5.2 Ezekiel’s Access to Mesopotamian Literature
 5.3 Lexemes in Ezekiel
 5.4 Structural Evidence of Contact
 5.5 Conclusion

6 Language Contact and the Book of Isaiah
 6.1 The Critical Study of Isaiah
 6.2 Isa 2:10, 19, and 21, Contact-Induced Change, and Diachronic Approaches
 6.3 Isaiah 13:4
 6.4 Loans and Literary Layers in Isaiah
 6.5 Isaiah’s Oracles against the Nations, Dialectal Representation, and Language Contact
 6.6 Second Isaiah, Navigating Empire and Language, and Structural Change in Biblical Hebrew
 6.7 Conclusion

7 Contact, Translation, and the Formation of the Bible
 7.1 Contact and History
 7.2 Politics and Colonialism in Language, Literature, and History
 7.3 Hybridity, Resistance, and Language Contact: How Language Change Helps Map the Navigation of Identity
 7.4 The Legacy of Structuralism
 7.5 Scribalism, Orality, and Contact
 7.6 Language Contact and the Study of the Hebrew Bible
The readership of the volume includes biblical scholars, Assyriologists, Aramaicists, linguists, and historians of the ancient Near East. Specialists and advanced graduate students will benefit from reading it.