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Aaron D. Hornkohl

Published On


Page Range

pp. 227-280

Print Length

53 pages

Discord between the Tiberian Written and Reading Traditions

Two Case Studies

  • Aaron D. Hornkohl (author)
Aaron Hornkohl examines two features in the Tiberian reading tradition of Biblical Hebrew, namely the qal construct infinitive and the 3ms possessive suffix that is attached to plural nouns and some prepositions. The article argues that although the vocalisation in both cases is secondary relative to what is represented by the consonantal text, it is not artificial and post-biblical, but rather a relatively ancient product of the real language situation of an earlier period, namely, the Second Temple Period, if not earlier. The view that the vocalisation has such historical depth and is the result of natural linguistic development is often dismissed by biblical scholars. By examining the distribution of forms within the Tiberian Masoretic version of the Hebrew Bible and in extra-biblical sources, especially the Dead Sea Scrolls and First Temple period epigraphy, Hornkohl convincingly demonstrates that the incongruity between the vocalisation and the consonantal text is earlier than Rabbinic Hebrew (second–third centuries CE).