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1 Introduction

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Chapter Summary

The works that comprise the Hebrew Bible were composed in diverse historical, geographical, social, and cultural contexts. In light of their various origins, the degree of linguistic uniformity they exhibit is striking. This linguistic uniformity is not complete, and variety is manifested in every linguistic domain: orthography and phonology; pronominal, nominal, and verbal morphology; syntax; and lexicon. Talmudic writings already testify to an awareness of Biblical Hebrew (BH) linguistic variety stemming from diachronic development. Archaic Biblical Hebrew (ABH) features appear to hark back to a stage of Hebrew earlier than Classical Biblical Hebrew (CBH) and often have parallels in Ugaritic, Amarna Canaanite, or Old Aramaic. The attempt to undermine the validity of the historical linguistic approach to the periodization of biblical literature and to its results, conveniently represented by the two-volume publication of Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, raises important methodological issues and makes a number of valid considerations and proposals.

Keywords: archaic Biblical Hebrew (ABH); classical Biblical Hebrew (CBH); historical linguistic approach; orthography; phonology; verbal morphology



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