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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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Edited by Klaas Spronk and Eveline van Staalduine-Sulman

Hebrew Texts in Jewish, Christian and Muslim Surroundings offers a new perspective on Judaism, Christianity and Islam as religions of the book. Their problematic relation seems to indicate that there is more that divides than unites these religions. The present volume will show that there is an intricate web of relations between the texts of these three religious traditions. On many levels readings and interpretations intermingle and influence each other. Studying the multifaceted history of the way Hebrew texts were read and interpreted in so many different contexts may contribute to a better understanding of the complicated relation between Jews, Christians and Muslims. These studies are dedicated to Dineke Houtman honouring her work as professor of Jewish-Christian relations.

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Edited by Klaas Spronk and Eveline van Staalduine-Sulman