John Emerton was Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge University from 1968 to 1995 and is a former Editor of
Vetus Testamentum and its Supplements (1975-97). His work is characterised by profound learning and rigorous argument. He published detailed articles on a wide range of subjects, not only on the Hebrew language but also on Biblical texts, Semitic philology and epigraphy, Pentateuchal criticism and other central issues in Biblical scholarship, and biographical essays on some modern scholars. The forty-eight essays in this volume have been selected to provide both an overview of Emerton’s influential work in all these fields and easier access to some items which are no longer readily available.
The articles in this collection demonstrate that a change is taking place in New Testament studies. Throughout the twentieth century, New Testament scholarship primarily worked under the assumption that only two languages, Aramaic and Greek, were in common use in the land of Israel in the first century. The current contributors investigate various areas where increasing linguistic data and changing perspectives have moved Hebrew out of a restricted, marginal status within first-century language use and the impact on New Testament studies. Five articles relate to the general sociolinguistic situation in the land of Israel during the first century, while three articles present literary studies that interact with the language background. The final three contributions demonstrate the impact this new understanding has on the reading of Gospel texts.