The Semantics of Silence in Biblical Hebrew, Sonja Noll explores the many words in biblical Hebrew that refer to being silent, investigating how they are used in biblical texts, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Ben Sira. She also examines the tradition of interpretation for these words in the early versions (Septuagint, Vulgate, Targum, Peshitta), modern translations, and standard dictionaries, revealing that meanings are not always straightforward and that additional work is needed in biblical semantics and lexicography. The traditional approach to comparative Semitics, with its over-simplistic assumption of semantic equivalence in cognates, is also challenged. The surprising conclusion of the work is that there is no single concept of silence in the biblical world; rather, it spans multiple semantic fields.
The Development of the Biblical Hebrew Vowels investigates the sound changes affecting the Proto-Northwest-Semitic vocalic phonemes and their reflexes in Tiberian Biblical Hebrew. Contrary to many previous approaches, Benjamin Suchard shows that these developments can all be described as phonetically regular sound laws. This confirms that despite its unique transmission history, Hebrew behaves like other languages in this regard.
Many Hebrew sound changes have traditionally been explained as reflecting non-phonetic conditioning. These include the Canaanite Shift of *ā to *ō, tonic and pre-tonic lengthening, diphthong contraction, Philippi’s Law, the Law of Attenuation, and the apocope of short, unstressed vowels. By reconsidering reconstructions and re-evaluating phonetic conditions, this work shows how the Biblical Hebrew forms regularly derive from their Proto-Northwest-Semitic precursors.
Targum Song of Songs and Late Jewish Literary Aramaic, Andrew W. Litke offers the first language analysis of Targum Song of Songs. The Targum utilizes grammatical and lexical features from different Aramaic dialects, as is the case with other Late Jewish Literary Aramaic (LJLA) texts. The study is laid out as a descriptive grammar and glossary, and in the analysis, each grammatical feature and lexical item is compared with the pre-modern Aramaic dialects and other exemplars of LJLA. By clearly laying out the linguistic character of this Targum in this manner, Litke is able to provide added clarity to our understanding of LJLA more broadly. Litke also provides a new transcription and translation of the Paris Héb. 110 manuscript.
Hebrew Lexical Semantics and Daily Life in Ancient Israel, Kurtis Peters hitches the world of Biblical Studies to that of modern linguistic research. Often the insights of linguistics do not appear in the study of Biblical Hebrew, and if they do, the theory remains esoteric.
Peters finds a way to maintain linguistic integrity and yet simplify cognitive linguistic methods to provide non-specialists an access point. By employing a cognitive approach one can coordinate the world of the biblical text with the world of its surroundings. The language of cooking affords such a possibility – Peters evaluates not only the words or lexemes related to cooking in the Hebrew Bible, but also the world of cooking as excavated by archaeology.