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Shiyanthi Thavapalan

In The Meaning of Color in Ancient Mesopotamia, Shiyanthi Thavapalan offers the first in-depth study of the words and expressions for colors in the Akkadian language (c. 2500-500 BCE). By combining philological analysis with the technical investigation of materials, she debunks the misconception that people in Mesopotamia had a limited sense of color and convincingly positions the development of Akkadian color language as a corollary of the history of materials and techniques in the ancient Near East.

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David J. Fuller

Habakkuk is unique amongst the prophetic corpus for its interchange between YHWH and the prophet. Many open research questions exist regarding the identities of the antagonists throughout and the relationships amongst the different sections of the book. A Discourse Analysis of Habakkuk, David J. Fuller develops a model for discourse analysis of Biblical Hebrew within the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. The analytical procedure is carried out on each pericope of the book separately, and then the respective results are compared in order to determine how the successive speeches function as responses to each other, and to better understand changes in the perspectives of the various speakers throughout.

The Development of the Biblical Hebrew vowels

Including a Concise Historical Morphology

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Benjamin Suchard

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.

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Ahmad Al-Jallad and Karolina Jaworska

This is the first comprehensive dictionary of the Safaitic inscriptions, comprising more than 1400 lemmata and 1500 lexical items. The dictionary includes a lengthy introduction to the inscriptions as well an outline of various aspects of the Safaitic writing tradition.

Ancient Texts and Modern Readers

Studies in Ancient Hebrew Linguistics and Bible Translation

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Edited by Gideon Kotzé, Christian S. Locatell and John A. Messarra

The chapters of this volume address a variety of topics that pertain to modern readers’ understanding of ancient texts, as well as tools or resources that can facilitate contemporary audiences’ interpretation of these ancient writings and their language. In this regard, they cover subjects related to the fields of ancient Hebrew linguistics and Bible translation. The chapters apply linguistic insights and theories to elucidate elements of ancient texts for modern readers, investigate how ancient texts help modern readers to interpret features in other ancient texts, and suggest ways in which translations can make the language and conceptual worlds of ancient texts more accessible to modern readers. In so doing, they present the results of original research, identify new lines and topics of inquiry, and make novel contributions to modern readers’ understanding of ancient texts.

Contributors are Alexander Andrason, Barry L. Bandstra, Reinier de Blois, Lénart J. de Regt, Gideon R. Kotzé, Geoffrey Khan, Christian S. Locatell, Kristopher Lyle, John A. Messarra, Cynthia L. Miller-Naudé, Jacobus A. Naudé, Daniel Rodriguez, Eep Talstra, Jeremy Thompson, Cornelius M. van den Heever, Herrie F. van Rooy, Gerrit J. van Steenbergen, Ernst Wendland, Tamar Zewi.

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Sylvain Patri

The phonetical and phonological interpretation of Hittite is exceptionally complicated. This is due to the data being accessible only through a writing system symbolizing the spoken chain by signs, which does not prejudge the sound form of the units represented, nor the relations of linearity they maintain with each other.
This book is the first comprehensive study of Hittite phonology conducted from a descriptive perspective and the first to use the results of experimental phonetics and phonological typology. In spite of problems probably destined to remain unsolved, this study shows that it is possible to rationally analyze a description of the phonological structure of words.

Targum Song of Songs and Late Jewish Literary Aramaic

Language, Lexicon, Text, and Translation

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Andrew W. Litke

In 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.

Biblical Hebrew in Context

Essays in Semitics and Old Testament Texts in Honour of Professor Jan P. Lettinga

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Edited by Koert van Bekkum, Gert Kwakkel and Wolter H. Rose

For half a century Jan P. Lettinga (1921), Professor emeritus of Semitic Languages at the Theological University Kampen (Broederweg), greatly influenced the teaching of Biblical Hebrew in the Faculties of Theology, Religious Studies and Semitic Languages in the Netherlands and Belgium by his widely used grammar. This volume honours his legacy and reputation as a Semitist. Lettinga always asked how a historical approach of the Semitic languages and literature would contribute to their understanding, and how this elucidates our reading of the Hebrew Scriptures. Biblical Hebrew in Context applies this approach to issues reflecting the full breadth of Lettinga’s interests: Mesopotamian and Biblical Law, the history, grammar and teaching of Hebrew and Aramaic, and the translation and interpretation of Ugaritic and Old Testament texts.

The Reconfiguration of Hebrew in the Hellenistic Period

Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira at Strasbourg University, June 2014

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Edited by Jan Joosten, Daniel Machiela and Jean-Sébastien Rey

The present volume of proceedings offers cutting-edge research on the Hebrew language in the late Persian, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Fourteen specialists of ancient Hebrew illuminate various aspects of the language, from phonology through grammar and syntax to semantics and interpretation. The research furthers the exegesis of biblical and non-biblical texts, it helps determine the chronological outline of Hebrew literature, and contributes to a better understanding of the sociolinguistic aspects of the language in the period of the Second Temple. Hebrew did not die out after the Babylonian exile, but continued to be used in speaking and writing in a variety of settings.