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Mette Bundvad and Kasper Siegismund

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.

Kasper Siegismund

Abstract

This contribution offers a critical evaluation of John Screnock’s hypothesis that the basic word order in 1QM is subject-verb, with inversion triggered by fronting of non-subject elements or by the use of intransitive verbs. After a detailed examination of the evidence, the opposite conclusion is reached. Basic word order is verb-subject, with inversion to subject-verb order with pragmatically marked subjects (focus fronting). There seems to be no causal relationship between transitivity and word order. Furthermore, it is argued that Screnock’s interpretation of 1QM 1:1–3 (which flows from his transitivity-based analysis) is highly unlikely, as it leads to a division of sentences that would produce a structure practically unattested in the rest of the text. In addition, the findings are applied to the general discussion of word order in Hebrew, in particular as an argument against recent attempts at describing Biblical Hebrew as a language with basic subject-verb order.