For hundreds of years, disputes on the origin of the Septuagint, a biblical text that was translated from Hebrew into Greek in the third century BCE, and the number of its translators have been ongoing. In
Multiple Authorship of the Septuagint Pentateuch, Hayeon Kim provides a clear solution to the unsolved questions, using an objective and consistent set of translation-technique criteria, and traditional and computerized tools of analysis. According to the author, the translation of the Septuagint Pentateuch has two facets: homogeneity and heterogeneity. The common socio-religious milieu of the translators is apparent in the similar translation techniques, however, the individual characters of the five translators are also evident in their distinct translation styles.
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.
Printing the Talmud: Complete Editions, Tractates and Other Works, and the Associated Presses from the Mid-17th Century through the 18th Century is a profusely illustrated major work describing the complete editions of the Talmud printed from about 1650 to slightly after 1800. Apart from the intrinsic value of those editions, their publication was often contentious due to disputes, often bitter, between rival publishers, embroiling rabbis and communities throughout Europe. The cities and editions encompassed include Amsterdam, Frankfort am Main, Frankfurt on the Oder, Prague, and Sulzbach. This edition of
Printing the Talmud addresses these editions as an opening to discuss the history of the subject presses, their other titles and their general context in Jewish history.
Metaphorical Landscapes and the Theology of the Book of Job demonstrates how spatial metaphors play a crucial role in the theology of the book of Job. Themes as pivotal as trauma, ill-being, retribution, and divine character are conceptualized in terms of space; its imagery is thus dependent on spatial configurations, such as boundaries, distance, direction, containment, and contact. Not only are spatial metaphors ubiquitous in the book of Job—possibly the most frequent conceptual metaphors in the book—they are essential to its theological reasoning. Job’s spatial metaphors form a metaphorical landscape in which God’s character and his creation are challenged in unprecedented ways. In the theophany, God reacts to that landscape. This book introduces a pragmatic synthesis of both conceptual metaphor theory and spatial semantics and it demonstrates their exegetical and hermeneutic potential.
The Peshitta, the Syriac translation of the Old Testament, is an important source for our knowledge of the text of the Old Testament. Its language is also of great interest to linguists. Moreover, as Bible of the Syriac Churches it is used in sermons, commentaries, poetry, prayers, and hymns. The present edition, published by the Peshitta Institute of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam on behalf of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, is the first scholarly edition of this text. It presents the evidence of all known ancient manuscripts and gives full introductions to the individual books. This volume contains Jeremiah, Lamentations, the Epistles of Jeremiah and Baruch, as well as the book of 1 Baruch. Only the Epistle of Baruch has appeared before in scholarly editions, which are now replaced by this new publication.
Handbook of Jewish Languages is an introduction to the many languages used by Jews throughout history, including Yiddish, Judezmo (Ladino) , and Jewish varieties of Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Berber, English, French, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Iranian, Italian, Latin American Spanish, Malayalam, Occitan (Provençal), Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Syriac, Turkic (Karaim and Krymchak), Turkish, and more. Chapters include historical and linguistic descriptions of each language, an overview of primary and secondary literature, and comprehensive bibliographies to aid further research. Many chapters also contain sample texts and images. This book is an unparalleled resource for anyone interested in Jewish languages, and will also be very useful for historical linguists, dialectologists, and scholars and students of minority or endangered languages. This paperback edition has been updated to include dozens of additional bibliographic references.
Interpreting Quoted Speech, Samuel Hildebrandt analyzes the literary phenomenon of one speaker quoting the words of another speaker within prophetic discourse. Challenging approaches that categorize these speech quotations and use them as direct windows into Israel’s past, Hildebrandt makes a compelling case for reading quoted speech in its literary context. He presents a substantial method for such an interpretive approach, demonstrates its value in a detailed analysis of Jeremiah 2.1-3.5, and highlights the significance of quoted phrases in Jeremiah and other prophetic texts.
Interpreting Quoted Speech marks an important contribution to the exploration of Jeremiah’s discourse and polyphony and, due to its accessible methodology and exegesis, offers a model for further research in prophetic literature.
Jewish, Christian, and Classical Exegetical Traditions in Jerome’s Translation of the Book of Exodus: Translation Technique and the Vulgate, Matthew Kraus offers a layered understanding of Jerome’s translation of biblical narrative, poetry, and law from Hebrew to Latin. Usually seen as a tool for textual criticism, when read as a work of literature, the Vulgate reflects a Late Antique conception of Hebrew grammar, critical use of Greek biblical traditions, rabbinic influence, Christian interpretation, and Classical style and motifs. Instead of typically treating the text of the Vulgate and Jerome himself separately, Matthew Kraus uncovers Late Antiquity in the many facets of the translator at work—grammarian, biblical exegete, Septuagint scholar, Christian intellectual, rabbinic correspondent, and devotee of Classical literature.