A History of the Hebrew Language

A History of the Hebrew Language

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A History of the Hebrew language is a comprehensive description of Hebrew from its Semitic origins and the earliest settlement of the Israelite tribes in Canaan to the present day. Although Hebrew is an 'oriental' language, it is nonetheless closely associated with Western culture as the language of the Bible and was used in writing by the Jews of Europe throughout the Middle Ages. It has also been newly revived in modern times as the language of the State of Israel. Professor Angel Saenz-Badillos sets Hebrew in the context of the Northwest Semitic languages and examines the origins of Hebrew and its earliest manifestations in ancient biblical poetry, inscriptions, and prose written before the Babylonian exile. He looks at the different mediaeval traditions of printing classical biblical Hebrew texts and the characteristic features of the post-exilic language, including the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He gives particular attention to Rabbinic and mediaeval Hebrew, especially as evidenced in writings from Spain. His survey concludes with the revival of the language this century in the form of Israeli Hebrew.show more

Product details

  • Online resource
  • 200.7 x 388.7 x 112.7mm | 222g
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139166557
  • 9781139166553

Review quote

'This book is without any doubt the most comprehensive and up-to-date history of the Hebrew language ever written. Beginning with the earliest traceable layers of the language, Professor Saenz-Badillos traces successfully the period of the bible, the rabbinic writings, the remarkably rich medieval literature, and the astonishing revival of the spoken language in recent times, setting the linguistic developments against the corresponding developments in the historical experience of the Jewish people. The author and translator have worked together to introduce improvements and to bring the book right up to date. Amazingly readable despite the technical data it contains, this book will be indispensable both for professional Hebraists and for those with an amateur enthusiasm for the Hebrew language.' Nicholas de Lange 'For students of Hebrew, this is an invaluable book, at once providing a large historical conspectus and a detailed analysis of the evolution of the language.' London Review of Booksshow more

Table of contents

Foreword Shelomo Morag; Acknowledgements; Part I. Hebrew in the Context of the Semitic Languages: 1. Hebrew, a Semitic language; 2. The Semitic languages; 3. Common or Proto-Semitic; 4. The Hamito-Semitic or Afro-Asiatic group; 5. Hamito-Semitic and Indo-European; Part II. Hebrew, a Northwest Semitic Language: 6. The northwest Semitic languages; 7. Dialect development and its consequences; Part III. Pre-exilic Hebrew: 8. The historical unity and development of Hebrew; 9. The origins of Hebrew; 10. The language of archaic biblical poetry; 11. The language of the inscriptions; 12. Pre-exilic Hebrew prose; Part IV. Biblical Hebrew in its Various Traditions: 13. The transmission of Biblical Hebrew; 14. The testimony of the Greek and Latin inscriptions; 15. Biblical Hebrew according to the Palestinian tradition; 16. Biblical Hebrew according to the Babylonian tradition; 17. Biblical Hebrew according to the Tiberian tradition; Part V. Hebrew in the Period of the Second Temple: 18. Post-exilic Biblical Hebrew; 19. The language of the Dead Sea Scrolls; 20. Samaritan Hebrew; Part VI. Rabbinic Hebrew: 21. Early studies; 22. Origins and classification of Rabbinic Hebrew; 23. New approaches to the study of Rabbinic Hebrew; 24. Orthography, phonetics, and phonology of Rabbinic Hebrew; 25. Morphology of Rabbinic Hebrew; 26. Grammar and vocabulary of Rabbinic Hebrew; Part VII. Mediaeval Hebrew; 27. Historical and geographical background; 28. The language of the paytanim; 29. The language of Saadiah Gaon; 30. The language of the Hebrew poetry of Spain; 31. The language of the Hebrew prose of Spain; 32. Mediaeval Hebrew in Italy and central Europe; Part VIII. Modern Hebrew: 33. The period of transition; 34. The revival of Hebrew; 35. Israeli Hebrew; 36. Studies in Israeli Hebrew 37. Phonology, morphology, and syntax of Israeli Hebrew; Bibliography; Index.show more

Rating details

34 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 24% (8)
4 38% (13)
3 32% (11)
2 6% (2)
1 0% (0)
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