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Author: Nissim Amzallag

Psalm 87 is generally interpreted as a song of pilgrimage praising Jerusalem as the ‘mother of nations’. This theme is, however, unknown in the Bible. Furthermore, both the structure and meaning of psalm 87 remain very obscure in this thematic context of interpretation. Alternatively, the present analysis suggests that psalm 87 evokes the diffusion abroad of the musical worship of yhwh by Korahite singers, its contribution to the fame of Zion, and of this congregation of singers. It also deals with the mutual commitment between the Jerusalemite singers and their peers living far away. A coherent articulation of these meanings emerges after setting the psalm in cross responsa fashion, a mode of complex antiphony in which distant cola are combined through the intertwinement of voices during performance. This interpretation is supported by biblical sources evoking the presence of Jerusalemite singers in foreign lands and their involvement in local musical worship of yhwh. The esoteric character of Psalm 87 and its complex mode of performance suggest that this song was specifically composed for the small congregation of Jerusalemite singers, and not for public cult.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Plants of Sorghum bicolor were grown hydroponically in a solution containing 150 mM NaCl, and the reproductive characters were analyzed at the end of the life cycle. A subpopulation was exposed to salinity on day 8 following germination (early-exposed plants), and another subpopulation was first exposed to salinity on day 21 following germination (late-exposed plants). Fertility and stem height, as determined per g shoot dry weight (DW), were similar for control and late-exposed plants. However, these parameters were largely modified in early-exposed plants.

The population of late-exposed plants displayed an increase in phenotypic variability. However, the monomodal structure of the population remained similar to that of the population of control plants. In contrast, a large increase in diversity was observed in the population of early-exposed plants, and the frequency distribution of the reproductive characters appeared as plurimodal for this population.

Early exposure to NaCl has been previously shown to induce an increase in salinity tolerance of the plant (termed salt adaptation). This effect was not observed for late-exposed plants. The significance of the induced modifications in reproductive characters is discussed in the light of the salt adaptation response in Sorghum.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences
Author: Nissim Amzallag

The miraculous victory of Jehoshaphat and the Judeans in the conflict against Moab, Ammon, and Edom (2 Chron. 20:1–30) displays all the characteristics of a holy war, but the active involvement of Yhwh, the main component expected in such a narrative, is skillfully muted and the circumstances leading to the victory remain evasive. The present analysis reveals that the Chronicler disguised the narrative as a holy war story in order to conceal the subversive message in a subliminal layer of meaning. In this way, the Chronicler reveals that the victory of the Judeans over their enemies was reached through the transgression of Yahwistic taboos. These findings reveal the existence, in the Chronicles, of a subversive dimension especially turned against Jehoshaphat. They account for a disagreement between the Chronicler and the opinion of potential readers concerning the reign of this king. The possible origin for the Chronicler’s singular attitude is discussed.


In: Biblical Interpretation

Leaf development of salt-treated Sorghum bicolor plants is influenced by treatment with 24-epibrassinolide (EBL), but only during a short period in development. This transient sensitivity coincides with a critical period of reorganization of regulations already identified in Sorghum, during which adaptation (through integration of effects of external perturbation in the new regulation network) is possible. By measuring the effect of EBL on leaf malformations during their unfolding in plants exposed to 150 mM NaCl, it is shown that treatments with brassinosteroids (BR) enable modification of initiation, duration, and intensity of this critical period of reorganization. A critical period is characterized by modification of cell sensitivity to informative substances. Accordingly, it is suggested that BR, at specific concentrations and time in development, may induce changes in cellular sensitivity to many growth regulators. The parallels in the effects of EBL and NaCl suggest that the transient inhibition in leaf elongation is not directly caused by the perturbation (addition of EBL or sublethal NaCl treatment). Rather, it results from interference between an exogenous perturbation and the structure of the regulation network.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Abstract

The chiasma structure of David’s Lament (2 Sam 1:19-27), together with evidences of antiphonal performance of qinot in Israel, suggests that this dirge was performed antiphonally by two voices, the first (sense voice) singing all the verses in ascending order and the second (the anti-sense voice) responding by singing them in descending order. It is shown here that the matching of verses according to this setting (defined as cross-responsa) generates both complementary claims typical to antiphony, and new ‘composite meanings’ providing a new dimension to the poem as a whole. Since these features are difficultly fortuitous, it is concluded that the David’s lament was conceived to be performed antiphonally as a cross-responsa. This analysis reveals the existence of a complex but ignored dimension of ars poetica in ancient Israel.

In: Vetus Testamentum

Developmental and physiological responses of 11 Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench genotypes exposed for 3 weeks to a 150 mM NaCl-pretreatment were studied. Following the pretreatment, exposure to 300 mM NaCl resulted in a gradient of response between “adaptation to salinity” (increase in salinity tolerance) and “pre-existing resistance” (maintenance of original salinity tolerance). Level of adaptation of each genotype was quantified by determination of the mean relative growth rate of the shoot at 300 mM NaCl (). There was a positive correlation between and the following parameters during the process of adaptation: inhibition of growth, decrease of the shoot:root ratio, and shoot Na+ uptake. There were more pronounced physiological perturbations during adaptation than during the pre-existing resistance response to salinity. During the first 25 days of exposure to NaCl, inhibition of growth and shoot Na+ concentration were not correlated. The much lower value for the intergenotype coefficient of variation (ICV) for Na+ + K+ as compared to that for Na+ or K+ suggests that the sum of these ions is a parameter of physiological importance, and that these two ions were interdependent and partially interchangeable. It seems that Na+ + K+ + CI were the main osmotica in the shoot of most genotypes. It is concluded that the nature of the response of the plant, rather than Na+ toxicity, was responsible for the effects of salinity on growth.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The offspring of Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench plants exposed to 150 mM NaCl eight or twenty-one days following germination were grown in field conditions, and were irrigated with non-saline water. As compared to the offspring of non-treated plants, the progeny of plants early-exposed to NaCl displayed an increase in shoot dry weight and stem height, but some of them showed a significant decrease in fertility. Similar changes were observed, but to a lesser extent, in the offspring of plants late-exposed to salinity. A similar increase in phenotypic variability was observed in populations of progeny from early-and late-treated plants. After verifying that the changes observed did not result from an artifactual selection, it was concluded that the NaCl treatment is able to influence characters expressed during the late development of the plant progeny. The nature of the induced change is discussed in relation to the plant response, adaptation or resistance, induced by the early or late exposure to salinity in the parent generation.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The parameters affected by salinity in salt-sensitive plants are reviewed. Turgor is the potential energy which powers extension growth, but is not a parameter which controls the growth process. Cell expansion is affected by phytohormones, and salinity modifies the phytohormonal balance of the plant; one of the major effects of salinity on growth results from a modification of the phytohormonal balance. Exposure to salt of certain plant genotypes, under appropriate conditions, results in an increase in salt resistance, which has been termed adaptation. The capacity to adapt is limited to a precise period of development. The process of adaptation is accelerated by abscisic acid and inhibited by cytokinin. It is a genetic character which is not a property of all genotypes. Adaptation is transmitted to the next generation, which suggests that it involves a modification of the genome. In plants, genome organization and expression are modified during development and under various types of environmental conditions. These changes in DNA are generally transitory, but under defined conditions they can be permanent and hence heritable. Changes in salt tolerance have been reported in the literature in the past but not recognized as adaptation because the authors were not aware of the phenomenon.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences