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Chapter Summary

The history of the Hebrew language is commonly divided into the Biblical, Mishnaic (or Rabbinic), Medieval, and Modern periods. Biblical Hebrew (BH) is described as a self-contained entity having its own distinct linguistic profile. The fifth century BCE was a critical turning point in the history of the Hebrew language; texts written from this point on reveal unique linguistic features that are entirely absent in the earlier sources. Distinguishing between First and Second Temple BH was undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of nineteenth-century Biblical philological scholarship and its validity has been fully confirmed by more recent research in the twentieth century and beyond, in no small measure due to the discovery of Qumranic Hebrew (QH), which reflects the transition from BH to Rabbinic Hebrew (RH). BH may be divided chronologically and historically into three principal periods: Archaic BH (ABH), Classical BH (CBH), and Late BH (LBH).

Keywords: Archaic BH (ABH); Biblical Hebrew (BH); Classical BH (CBH); Hebrew language; Late BH (LBH); Second Temple BH



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