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Mishnaic Hebrew: An Introductory Survey

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines the basic issues in research into Mishnaic Hebrew (MH). First, it examines literary language origin and its character in relation to biblical Hebrew (five different aspects of that topic were examined). Second, the chapter considers the question of the homogeneity of MH, under seven different headings. Third, it examines the relationship between MH and other languages. The chapter indicates what light could be shed by indirect sources, and in particular by three of those sources, upon our knowledge of MH. It also points out the kinship between MH and the Hebrew of the liturgy and piyyut. The purpose of the chapter is to open up perspectives for those interested in an area of Jewish scholarship which has recently entered a new phase of expansion, and is attracting - especially in Israel - a new generation of investigators.

Keywords: biblical Hebrew; Israel; Jewish scholarship; literary language; liturgy language; Mishnaic Hebrew (MH); Rabbinic Literature



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