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A case of diglossia in the book of Jonah?

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AbstractThe alteration between - and - in the dialogue between Jonah and the sailors is possibly indicative of a diglossia in that the former is typical of the vernacular and the latter of standard, classical idiom of Hebrew.

1. FN11) The latter book uses only this form except in the title (Ct 1:1), which most probably does not belong to the poem itself.
2. FN22) “eine Ausdrucksweise der spätesten Zeit, die an aramäische Verbindungen erinnert” (K. Marti, Das Dodekapropheton [Kurzer Hand-Commentar zum AT, XIII] (J.C.B. Mohr: Tübingen, 1904), p. 250. See also E. Kautzsch, Die Aramaismen im Alten Testament untersucht, I Lexikalischer Teil (Max Niemyer: Halle a. S., 1902), p. 87. See also P. Joüon and T. Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Subsidia biblica 27 (Pontifical Biblical Institute Press: Rome, 2006), § 38 and M. Wagner, Die lexikalischen und grammatikalischen Aramaismen im alttestamentlichen Hebräisch, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 96 (Alfred Toppelmann: Berlin, 1966), pp. 110f. Hurvitz also mentions בְּשֶׁל in vs. 8 as indicative of a late date of the book of Jonah in its present form: A. Hurvitz, “The Hebrew language in the Persian period,” in H. Tadmor (ed.), The History of the Jewish People, vol. 6, Return from Exile: The Persian Period [Heb.] (Jerusalem, 1983), p. 216 where Hurvitz finds a parallel phenomenon in Mishnaic Hebrew.
3. FN33) For instance, בדיל שרי “on account of Sarai” 1Q20 XX,25 and בדילה “for his sake” 11Q10 XXXVIII,3. See T. Muraoka, A Grammar of Qumran Aramaic, Ancient Near Eastern Studies Supplement 38 (Peeters: Leuven, 2011), § 20 d.
4. FN44) See T. Muraoka and B. Porten, A Grammar of Egyptian Aramaic, Handbuch der Orientalistik 32 (Brill: Leiden, 22003), § 88 c and J. Hoftijzer—K. Jongeling, Dictionary of the North-West Semitic Inscriptions, Handbuch der Orientalistik 21 (Brill: Leiden, 1995), p. 316, E b α.
5. FN55) For example, “weil der Glossator das ihm nicht zusagend שׁ gleich bei seinem ersten Vorkommen durch das gewohne אשׁר ersetzt sehen wollte”: W. Rudolph, Joel—Amos—Obadja—Jona, Kommentar zum Alten Testament XIII,2 (Gütersloher Verlagshaus: Gerd Mohn, 1971), p. 340. So also Marti, op. cit., ib. In some LXX manuscripts, including BSV, the section enclosed within לנו ׀׀ לנו is missing, an easily understandable scribal error, which Ziegler, in his critical edition, judiciously does not follow. That the crew, on approaching Jonah, already had their answer to the puzzle does not make this question of theirs redundant. They wanted the prophet himself to face the music, just as Tamar drew Judah’s attention to the pieces of evidence, instead of shouting at him in public, “Look, it’s you that have got me pregnant,” and this out of her deference to her stepfather, so according to Rashi ad Gen. 38:25.
6. FN66) Rendsburg, in his study of diglossia in Biblical Hebrew, mentions the use of -שׁ in verse 7 as an example of a variety of Hebrew distinct from the standard literary Hebrew, without specifically mentioning the contrast between the two relative pronouns used here. See G. A. Rendsburg, Diglossia in Hebrew (American Oriental Society: New Haven, CN, 1990), § 73, 76. Polak holds that the replacement of -שׁ by אשׁר in vs. 7 is a case of convergence of Aramaic influence and vernacular features, without, however, noting the alternation -שׁ- < אשׁ ר < שׁ: F.H. Polak, “Sociolinguistics and the Judean speech community in the Achaemenid Empire,” pp. 589-628 in O. Lipschitz and M. Oeming (eds), Judah and the Judeans in the Persian Period (Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, IND, 2006), esp. 611.
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853311x613755
2012-01-01
2015-07-07

Affiliations: 1: Email: muraoka@planet.nl, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

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