Language and Interpretation in the Syriac Text of Ben Sira

A Comparative Linguistic and Literary Study


This book is the result of an innovative linguistic study of the Syriac translation of Ben Sira. It contains both a traditional philological analysis, incorporating matters of text-historical interest and translation technique, and also the results of a computational linguistic analysis of phrases, clauses and texts. It arrives at new linguistic insights, including a proposal for a corpus-based description of phrase structure based on a so-called maximum matrix. The book also addresses the fundamentally different way in which a text is approached in a computer-assisted analysis compared with the way in which this is done in traditional philological approaches. It demonstrates how the computer-assisted analysis can fruitfully shed light on or supplement traditional philological research.
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Biographical Note

Willem Th. van Peursen, Ph.D. (1999), Leiden University, is research fellow at the Peshitta Institute Leiden and author of The Verbal System in the Hebrew Text of Ben Sira (Brill, 2004), and editor of Corpus Linguistics and Textual History (Van Gorcum/Brill, 2006).


All those interested in the Peshitta, the textual history of Ben Sira, Syriac linguistics and the use of the computer in the analysis of biblical and other ancient texts.


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