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William M. Schniedewind's 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 through a standard humans, the Hebrew language used to be continuously an essential component of the Jewish cultural process and, as such, tightly interwoven into the lives of the prophets, poets, scribes, and clergymen who used it. during this special social background, William Schniedewind examines classical Hebrew from its origins within the moment millennium BCE until eventually the Rabbinic interval, while the rules of Judaism as we all know it this day have been formulated, to view the tale of the Israelites during the lens in their language.
contemplating classical Hebrew from the point of view of a writing procedure rather than vernacular speech, Schniedewind demonstrates how the Israelites’ lengthy historical past of migration, battle, exile, and different momentous occasions is mirrored in Hebrew’s linguistic evolution. a great addition to the fields of biblical and heart jap reports, this attention-grabbing paintings brings linguistics and social heritage jointly for the 1st time to discover an historical culture.

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Extra resources for A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period

Sample text

Likewise, spelling is especially habitual, remaining long after speech forms have changed, as we readily observe in English words like knight, gnat, or name. ”35 So, for example, the spelling with b in loanwords like debt, doubt, and subtle does not derive from Old French but rather was created by learned scribes who knew the Latin antecedents debitum, dubito, and subtilis. The changes in spelling, lexicon, and even grammar tend to be instigated by historical and ideological developments and not simply by the constant change in speech forms.

Even in ancient Israel, language was a social marker linked with identity. The sociolinguist Andrée Tabouret-Keller notes, “The language spoken by somebody and his or her identity as a speaker of this language are inseparable. ”57 This truism can be readily illustrated by an example that we have already discussed, namely, the shibboleth-sibboleth episode in Judges 12:5 – 6. Although the problem of how exactly the Gileadite and Ephraimite dialects differed is still a matter of debate (in part because of the imprecision of the graphemes), the commonplace sociolinguistic observation that language and linguistic forms can index social groups is played out.

In particular, the name of a certain Bebi, “General of the Asiatics,” linked these alphabetic inscriptions with Semitic laborers and mercenary soldiers working in Egypt. ” These inscriptions suggest that the texts might be related to the “Asiatics” and also point to the role of Egyptian scribes in administrative positions outside of Egypt. The innovation of these alphabetic inscriptions must be related to the spread of Egyptian hegemony outside of Egypt. New cultural settings allow for the expression of nontraditional forms, and new scripts tend to emerge at moments of societal change.

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

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