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A History of the Hebrew Language

A History of the Hebrew Language

  • Date Published: January 1996
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521556347


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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Only existing one-volume survey of the complete history of the hebrew language and its literature
    • Gives linguistic detail while setting the language in the context of the history and diaspora of the Jewish people
    • Includes invaluable bibliography, which is comprehensive and up-to-date
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '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 Saénz-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 Books

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 1996
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521556347
    • length: 384 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword Shelomo Morag
    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

  • Author

    Angel Sáenz-Badillos, Universidad Complutense, Madrid


    John Elwolde


    Shelomo Morag

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