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Aramaic Incantation Bowls in Museum Collections

Volume One: The Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities, Jena

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James Nathan Ford and Matthew Morgenstern

The Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena houses one of the major European collections of incantation bowls. Forty bowls bear texts written in the Jewish, Manichaean Syriac or Mandaic scripts, and most of the rest (some twenty-five objects) in the Pahlavi script or in various pseudoscripts. The present volume comprises new editions of the Aramaic (and Hebrew) bowl texts based on high-resolution photographs taken by the authors, together with brief descriptions and photographs of the remaining material. New readings are often supported with close-up photographs. The volume is intended to serve as a basis for further study of magic in late Antiquity and of the Late Eastern Aramaic dialects in which the texts were composed.

Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14-15 August, 2017

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Edited by Mette Bundvad and Kasper Siegismund

The Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran have attracted increasing interest in recent years. These texts predate the “sectarian” Dead Sea scrolls, and they are contemporary with the youngest parts of the Hebrew Bible. They offer a unique glimpse into the situation before the biblical canons were closed. Their highly creative Jewish authors reshaped and rewrote biblical traditions to cope with the concerns of their own time. The essays in this volume examine this fascinating ancient literature from a variety of different perspectives. The book grew out of an international symposium held at the University of Copenhagen in August 2017.

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.

History, Biography, and the Genre of Luke-Acts

An Exploration of Literary Divergence in Greek Narrative Discourse

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Andrew W. Pitts

Unlike contemporary literary-linguistic configurations of genre, current methodologies for the study of the Gospel genre are designed only to target genre similarities not genre differences. This basic oversight results in the convoluted discussion we witness in Lukan genre study today. Each recent treatment of the genre of Luke-Acts represents a distinct effort to draw parallels between Luke-Acts and a specific (or multiple) literary tradition(s). These studies all underestimate the role of literary divergence in genre analysis, leveraging much—if not, all—of their case on literary proximity. This monograph will show how attention to literary divergence from a number of angles may bring resolution to the increasingly complex discussions of the genre(s) of Luke-Acts.

The Regimen sanitatis of “Avenzoar”

Stages in the Production of a Medieval Translation

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Michael R. McVaugh, Gerrit Bos and Joseph Shatzmiller

The authors publish a previously unedited Regimen of Health attributed to Avenzoar (Ibn Zuhr), translated at Montpellier in 1299 in a collaboration between a Jewish philosopher and a Christian surgeon, the former translating the original Arabic into their shared Occitan vernacular, the latter translating that into Latin. They use manuscript evidence to argue that the text was produced in two stages, first a quite literal version, then a revision improved in style and in language adapted to contemporary European medicine. Such collaborative translations are well known, but the revelation of the inner workings of the translation process in this case is exceptional. A separate Hebrew translation by the philosopher (also edited here) gives independent evidence of the lost Arabic original.

Ancient Manuscripts in Digital Culture

Visualisation, Data Mining, Communication

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Edited by David Hamidović, Claire Clivaz and Sarah Bowen Savant

Ancient Manuscripts in Digital Culture presents an overview of the digital turn in Ancient Jewish and Christian manuscripts visualisation, data mining and communication. Edited by David Hamidović, Claire Clivaz and Sarah Bowen Savant, it gathers together the contributions of seventeen scholars involved in Biblical, Early Jewish and Christian studies. The volume attests to the spreading of digital humanities in these fields and presents fundamental analysis of the rise of visual culture as well as specific test-cases concerning ancient manuscripts. Sophisticated visualisation tools, stylometric analysis, teaching and visual data, epigraphy and visualisation belong notably to the varied overview presented in the volume.

Abraham Ibn Ezra Latinus on Nativities

A Parallel Latin-English Critical Edition of Liber Nativitatum and Liber Abraham Iudei de Nativitatibus. Abraham Ibn Ezra’s Astrological Writings, Volume 6

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Edited by Shlomo Sela

Abraham Ibn Ezra was “reborn” in the Latin West in the last decades of the thirteenth century thanks to a plethora of authored and anonymous Latin translations of his astrological writings. The present volume offers the first critical edition, accompanied by an English translation, a commentary, and an introductory study, of Liber nativitatum (Book of Nativities) and Liber Abraham Iudei de nativitatibus (Book on Nativities by Abraham the Jew), two astrological treatises in Latin that were written by Abraham Ibn Ezra or attributed to him, and whose Hebrew source-text or archetype has not survived. The first is undoubtedly an anonymous Latin translation of the second version of Ibn Ezra’s Sefer ha-moladot (Book of Nativities), whose Hebrew source text is otherwise lost. The second is the most mysterious specimen among the Latin works attributed to Ibn Ezra that have no extant Hebrew counterpart. The present volume shows not only that the Liber Abraham Iudei de nativitatibus underwent a significant metamorphosis over time and was transmitted in four significantly different versions, but also that its date of composition is not that previously accepted by modern scholarship.

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.

Arab-Jewish Literature

The Birth and Demise of the Arabic Short Story

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Reuven Snir

In Arab-Jewish Literature: The Birth and Demise of the Arabic Short Story, Reuven Snir offers an account of the emergence of the art of the Arabic short story among the Arabized Jews during the 1920s, especially in Iraq and Egypt, its development in the next two decades, until the emigration to Israel after 1948, and the efforts to continue the literary writing in Israeli society, the shift to Hebrew, and its current demise. The stories discussed in the book reflect the various stages of the development of Arab-Jewish identity during the twentieth century and are studied in the relevant updated theoretical and literary contexts. An anthology of sixteen translated stories is also included as an appendix to the book.

Bernard Vargaftig

Esthétique du renversement

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Régis Lefort

Dans cette monographie, Régis Lefort met en evidence le caractère pictural du poème de Bernard Vargaftig (1934-2012), et la composition musicale de l’œuvre. Il envisage le phénomène de renversement, que ne cesse de convoquer le poète, comme une esthétique poétique, comme l’identité même du poème. Commençant par le dernier vers et remontant jusqu’au premier, le poète creuse la langue du poème pour en identifier la source. Le renversement est aussi une façon de détruire, d’entrer dans l’avalanche, pour rebâtir, aller vers l’aube des mots. Il s’inscrit dans l’omnipresence de la culture hébraïque, selon laquelle la quête du réel ne dévoilerait aucune vérité, inaccessible à la raison humaine, mais produirait un bouleversement de la connaissance, de l’ordre de la connaissance ontologique.

Régis Lefort's study of Bernard Vargaftig (1934-2012) highlights the pictorial character of his poems and the musical composition of his work. Lefort locates in the phenomenon of reversal, so frequently enacted by Vargaftig, a poetic aesthetic and the very identity of the poem. Beginning with the last line and working back to the first, the poet burrows deep into the language of the poem to identify its source. Reversal is also a means of destruction, of entering into an avalanche, in order to rebuild the poem and go towards the dawn of words. It marks in the work the omnipresence of Hebrew culture, according to which the search for the real can reveal no truth, since all truth is inaccessible to human reason, but rather entails an upheaval of knowledge that is in itself the very condition of ontological knowledge.