Read e-book online A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic PDF

By William M. Schniedewind

ISBN-10: 0300176686

ISBN-13: 9780300176681

More than just a style of communique shared via a standard humans, the Hebrew language used to be consistently an essential component of the Jewish cultural approach and, as such, tightly interwoven into the lives of the prophets, poets, scribes, and clergymen who used it. during this special social heritage, William Schniedewind examines classical Hebrew from its origins within the moment millennium BCE till the Rabbinic interval, while the foundations of Judaism as we all know it this day have been formulated, to view the tale of the Israelites in the course of the lens in their language.
contemplating classical Hebrew from the point of view of a writing approach rather than vernacular speech, Schniedewind demonstrates how the Israelites’ lengthy heritage of migration, battle, exile, and different momentous occasions is mirrored in Hebrew’s linguistic evolution. a good addition to the fields of biblical and center japanese stories, this interesting paintings brings linguistics and social background jointly for the 1st time to discover an old culture.

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Additional info for A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period

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60 Since then, some scholars have begun to plow this field, but little work has been done to cultivate it specifically for classical Hebrew. The tradition of the field of Semitic linguistics and Hebrew in particular has followed a descriptive and neogrammarian orientation, with its emphasis on morphology and phonology. This is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that the classic grammar of Hebrew, by Gesenius, Kautzsch, and Cowley, gives almost no attention to syntax. 62 A quick pe- Language, Land, and People 19 rusal of the main historical grammars and histories of the Hebrew language will not turn up anything like a prolegomenon to the study of language.

15 It is noteworthy that the alphabet (unlike other writing systems) was invented only once, and that all alphabets—including Hebrew—are adaptations from this original innovation. Greek and Latin sources almost universally attribute the invention of the alphabet to the Phoenicians. e. Greek historian Herodotus writes that “the Phoenicians . . taught them [that is, the Greeks] the alphabet” (Hist. V, 58:332), and later writers largely follow the account of Herodotus. e. 16 This account received credibility because of the antiquity of the first alphabetic inscriptions as well as the location of their discovery.

Another problem stems from the representation of the phonemic inventory (that is, sounds) of the Hebrew language by only twenty-two graphemes (that is, letters). The choice of a twenty-two-letter alphabet to represent the Hebrew language reflected the influence of the Phoenician scribal schools in the early Iron Age (ca. ). Although transcriptions of Hebrew 22 Language, Land, and People into other languages such as Greek made it clear that the Hebrew graphemic inventory simplified the richer phonemic inventory, the constraints of the scribal traditions preserved this alphabet.

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A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period by William M. Schniedewind

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