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The Proselyte and the Prophet

Character Development in Targum Ruth

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Chr.M.M. Brady

The Proselyte and the Prophet: Character Development in Targum Ruth by Christian M. M. Brady is an exegetical study of Targum Ruth with a focus upon the transformation of the biblical characters into exemplars of rabbinic piety. Ruth becomes the ideal proselyte while Boaz is presented as a judge, a scholar of the Law, and a prophet. Brady demonstrates that the Targumist follows standard Targumic practice, rendering each Hebrew word of the biblical text into Aramaic, while making additions that further his agenda of presenting Ruth as a rabbinic model to be emulated.

In addition to the character analysis Brady provides a transcription of the manuscript Valmadonna 1, a new translation into English, and a verse-by-verse commentary of Targum Ruth.

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Edited by J.T.A.G.M. van Ruiten and George van Kooten

Issues such as the immortality of the soul, the debate about matter versus life, and whether one was capable of knowing the outside world were all being extensively discussed in many religions and cultures in both East and West. The present volume addresses the concept of an immortal soul in a mortal body, and focuses on early Judaism and Christianity, where this issue is often related to the initial chapters of the book of Genesis. The papers are devoted to the interpretation of Gen 2:7 in relation to the broader issue of dualistic anthropology. They show that the dualism was questioned in different ways within the context of early Judaism and Christianity.

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Kurtis Peters

In 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.

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Edited by Lily Kahn and Aaron D. Rubin

This 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 book is also available as paperback version.

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Edited by Edit Doron

Language Contact and the Development of Modern Hebrew is a first rigorous attempt by scholars of Hebrew to evaluate the syntactic impact of the various languages with which Modern Hebrew was in contact during its formative years. Twenty-four different innovative syntactic constructions of Modern Hebrew are analysed, and shown to originate in previous stages of Hebrew, which, since the third century CE, solely functioned as a scholarly and liturgical language. The syntactic changes in the constructions are traced to the native languages of the first Modern Hebrew learners, and later to further reanalysis by the first generation of native speakers.
The contents of this volume was also published as a special double issue of Journal of Jewish Languages, 3: 1-2 (2015).

Contributors are: Vera Agranovsky, Chanan Ariel, Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal, Miri Bar-Ziv, Isaac Bleaman, Nora Boneh, Edit Doron, Keren Dubnov, Itamar Francez, Roey Gafter, Ophira Gamliel, Yehudit Henshke, Uri Horesh, Olga Kagan, Samir Khalaily, Irit Meir, Yishai Neuman, Abed al-Rahman Mar'i, Malka Rappaport Hovav, Yael Reshef, Aynat Rubinstein, Ora Schwarzwald, Nimrod Shatil, Sigal Shlomo, Ivy Sichel, Moshe Taube, Avigail Tsirkin-Sadan, Shira Wigderson, and Yael Ziv.

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Bernard Spolsky

Until quite recently, the term Diaspora (usually with the capital) meant the dispersion of the Jews in many parts of the world. Now, it is recognized that many other groups have built communities distant from their homeland, such as Overseas Chinese, South Asians, Romani, Armenians, Syrian and Palestinian Arabs. To explore the effect of exile of language repertoires, the article traces the sociolinguistic development of the many Jewish Diasporas, starting with the community exiled to Babylon, and following through exiles in Muslim and Christian countries in the Middle Ages and later. It presents the changes that occurred linguistically after Jews were granted full citizenship. It then goes into details about the phenomenon and problem of the Jewish return to the homeland, the revitalization and revernacularization of the Hebrew that had been a sacred and literary language, and the rediasporization that accounts for the cases of maintenance of Diaspora varieties.

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Edited by Sidnie White Crawford and Cecilia Wassen

The Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran and the Concept of a Library presents twelve articles by renowned experts in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Qumran studies. These articles explore from various angles the question of whether or not the collection of manuscripts found in the eleven caves in the vicinity of Khirbet Qumran can be characterized as a “library,” and, if so, what the relation of that library is to the ruins of Qumran and the group of Jews that inhabited them. The essays fall into the following categories: the collection as a whole, subcollections within the overall corpus, and the implications of identifying the Qumran collection as a library.

The Verbal System of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Tense, Aspect, and Modality in Qumran Hebrew Texts

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Ken M. Penner

In The Verbal System of the Dead Sea Scrolls Ken M. Penner determines whether Qumran Hebrew finite verbs are primarily temporal, aspectual, or modal.
Standard grammars claim Hebrew was aspect-prominent in the Bible, and tense-prominent in the Mishnah. But the semantic value of the verb forms in the intervening period in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were written has remained controversial.
Penner answers the question of Qumran Hebrew verb form semantics using an empirical method: a database calculating the correlation between each form and each function, establishing that the ancient author’s selection of verb form is determined not by aspect, but by tense or modality. Penner then applies these findings to controversial interpretations of three Qumran texts.

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Godwin Mushayabasa

The Peshitta Institute Leiden is fulfilling its aim of producing a critical edition of the Old Testament in Syriac according to the Peshitta version. As this critical edition becomes available, Translation Technique in the Peshitta to Ezekiel 1-24: A Frame Semantics Approach takes its role in providing perspectives on the value of the Peshitta to Ezekiel in Old Testament textual studies.

Godwin Mushayabasa uses the cognitive linguistics approach of frame semantics to determine what techniques were used to translate Ezekiel 1-24 from Hebrew to Syriac. He observes that the Peshitta was translated at the level of semantic frames, producing a fairly literal translation. In achieving this, the author also invokes interdisciplinary dialogue between biblical textual studies and cognitive linguistics sciences.

Edited by Outi Bat-El

The joint enterprise between research in theoretical linguistics and the acquisition of phonology and morphology is the focus of this volume, which provides fresh data from Hebrew, evaluates old issues and addresses new ones. The volume includes articles on segmental phonology (vowel harmony and consonant harmony), prosodic phonology (the prosodic word, onsets and codas), and phonological errors in spelling. It attempts to bridge the gap between phonology and morphology with articles on the development of filler syllables and the effect of phonology on the development of verb inflection. It also addresses morphology, as well as the development of morphological specification and the assignment of gender in L2 Hebrew. The data are drawn from typically and atypically developing children, using longitudinal and cross-sectional experimental methods.