Cover image for A Handbook of Biblical Hebrew Edited by W. Randall Garr and Steven E. Fassberg

A Handbook of Biblical Hebrew

Edited by W. Randall Garr, and Edited by Steven E. Fassberg

BUY

$69.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-371-3

348 pages
6" × 9"
2016

A Handbook of Biblical Hebrew

Edited by W. Randall Garr, and Edited by Steven E. Fassberg

“While handbooks of Hebrew abound, this collection of essays does not stop with a technical linguistic treatment but introduces readers to the communities using and preserving these texts. The authors collectively present a nuanced history of Biblical Hebrew that traces its evolution from a spoken and written Iron Age language to a language used in more specialized contexts. The handbook’s primary achievement is the inclusion of lesser-known religious and scholarly communities. . . . This broad perspective could fill a lacuna in the education of most students, especially those unfamiliar with the reading traditions of the Samaritans, Karaites, and modern Jewish communities.”

 

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Volume 1: Periods, Corpora, and Reading Traditions; Volume 2: Selected Texts

Biblical Hebrew is studied worldwide by university students, seminarians, and the educated public. It is also studied, almost universally, through a single prism—that of the Tiberian Masoretic tradition, which is the best attested and most widely available tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Thanks in large part to its endorsement by Maimonides, it also became the most prestigious vocalization tradition in the Middle Ages. For most, Biblical Hebrew is synonymous with Tiberian Biblical Hebrew.

There are, however, other vocalization traditions. The Babylonian tradition was widespread among Jews around the close of the first millennium CE; the tenth-century Karaite scholar al-Qirqisani reports that the Babylonian pronunciation was in use in Babylonia, Iran, the Arabian peninsula, and Yemen. And despite the fact that Yemenite Jews continued using Babylonian manuscripts without interruption from generation to generation, European scholars learned of them only toward the middle of the nineteenth century. Decades later, manuscripts pointed with the Palestinian vocalization system were rediscovered in the Cairo Genizah. Thereafter came the discovery of manuscripts written according to the Tiberian-Palestinian system and, perhaps most importantly, the texts found in caves alongside the Dead Sea.

What is still lacking, however, is a comprehensive and systematic overview of the different periods, sources, and traditions of Biblical Hebrew. This handbook provides students and the public with easily accessible, reliable, and current information in English concerning the multi-faceted nature of Biblical Hebrew. Noted scholars in each of the various fields contributed their expertise. The result is the present two-volume work. The first contains an in-depth introduction to each tradition; and the second presents sample accompanying texts that exemplify the descriptions of the parallel introductory chapters.

“While handbooks of Hebrew abound, this collection of essays does not stop with a technical linguistic treatment but introduces readers to the communities using and preserving these texts. The authors collectively present a nuanced history of Biblical Hebrew that traces its evolution from a spoken and written Iron Age language to a language used in more specialized contexts. The handbook’s primary achievement is the inclusion of lesser-known religious and scholarly communities. . . . This broad perspective could fill a lacuna in the education of most students, especially those unfamiliar with the reading traditions of the Samaritans, Karaites, and modern Jewish communities.”

Volume 1 contains contains discussions of the various stages of Biblical Hebrew's development; Volume 2 contains sample texts and illustrations of the reading traditions

Preface

Part I

Phases of Biblical Hebrew

1. Standard/Classical Biblical Hebrew

Joseph Lam and Dennis Pardee

2. Archaic Biblical Hebrew

Agustinus Gianto

3. Transitional Biblical Hebrew

Aaron D. Hornkohl

4. Late Biblical Hebrew

Matthew Morgenstern

Part II

Contemporary Hebrew Attestations

5. Epigraphic Hebrew

Shmuel Aituv, W. Randall Garr, and Steven E. Fassberg

6. Ben Sira

Wido van Peursen

7. The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Jan Joosten

Part III

Ancient and Medieval Reading Traditions

8. Hebrew in Greek and Latin Transcriptions

Alexey Eliyahu Yuditsky

9. Samaritan Tradition

Moshe Florentin

10. Babylonian Tradition

Shai Heijmans

11. Karaite Transcriptions of Biblical Hebrew

Geoffrey Khan

12. Palestinian Tradition

Joseph Yahalom

13. Tiberian-Palestinian Tradition

Holger Gzella

Part IV

Essays

14. The Tiberian Tradition of Reading the Bible and the Masoretic System

Yosef Ofer

15. The Contribution of Tannaitic Hebrew to Understanding Biblical Hebrew

Moshe Bar-Asher

16. Modern Reading Traditions of Biblical Hebrew

Aharon Maman

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