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Studies in Semitic Vocalisation and Reading Traditions

Studies in Semitic Vocalisation and Reading Traditions Aaron Hornkohl and Geoffrey Khan (eds.)
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-935-5 £22.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-936-2 £42.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-937-9 £0.00

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This volume brings together papers relating to the pronunciation of Semitic languages and the representation of their pronunciation in written form. The papers focus on sources representative of a period that stretches from late antiquity until the Middle Ages. A large proportion of them concern reading traditions of Biblical Hebrew, especially the vocalisation notation systems used to represent them. Also discussed are orthography and the written representation of prosody.

Beyond Biblical Hebrew, there are studies concerning Punic, Biblical Aramaic, Syriac, and Arabic, as well as post-biblical traditions of Hebrew such as piyyuṭ and medieval Hebrew poetry. There were many parallels and interactions between these various language traditions and the volume demonstrates that important insights can be gained from such a wide range of perspectives across different historical periods.


Studies in Semitic Vocalisation and Reading Traditions
Aaron Hornkohl and Geoffrey Khan (eds.) | June 2020
708 pp. | 4 b&w (pbk)/colour (hb) Illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
Semitic Languages and Cultures vol. 3 | ISSN: 2632-6906 (Print); 2632-6914 (Online)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783749355
ISBN Hardback: 9781783749362
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783749379
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0207
Subject Codes: BIC: CFF (Historical and comparative linguistics), CFP (Translation and interpretation); BISAC: REL006020 (RELIGION / Biblical Biography / General), LAN009010 (LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative)


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Contents
Contributors

Preface Download
Aaron D. Hornkohl and Geoffrey Khan

Robert Crellin and Lucia Tamponi - Vowel Quantity and Quality in Neo-Punic and Latin Inscriptions Download
Robert Crellin and Lucia Tamponi

Benjamin Kantor - The Development of the Hebrew Wayyiqṭol Download
Benjamin Kantor

Peter Myers - The Representation of Gutturals by Vowels in the LXX Download
Peter Myers

Dorota Molin - Biblical Quotations in the Aramaic Incantation Bowls Download
Dorota Molin

Benjamin D. Suchard - The Reflexes of *i and *u Download
Benjamin D. Suchard

Nick Posegay - Shared Tradition in Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew Vocalisation Download
Nick Posegay

Aaron D. Hornkohl - Discord between Tiberian Written and Reading Traditions Download
Aaron D. Hornkohl

Joseph Habib - Qere and Ketiv in the Exegesis of the Karaites and Saadya Download
Joseph Habib

Vincent DeCaen and B. Elan Dresher - Pausal Forms and Prosodic Structure in Tiberian Hebrew Download
Vincent DeCaen and B. Elan Dresher

Kim Phillips - Samuel ben Jacob’s Treatment of Exceptional Vocalic Shewas Download
Kim Phillips

Benjamin Outhwaite - The Tiberian Tradition in Common Bibles from the Genizah Download
Benjamin Outhwaite

Estara Arrant - Near-Model and Non-Standard Tiberian Torah Manuscripts Download
Estara Arrant

Geoffrey Khan - The Imperfect Oral Performance of the Tiberian Tradition Download
Geoffrey Khan

Élodie Attia - Variants in Ashkenazic Biblical Manuscripts Download
Élodie Attia

José Martínez Delgado - The Prosodic Models of Andalusi Hebrew Metrics Download
José Martínez Delgado

Michael Rand - Marginalia to the Qillirian Rhyme System Download
Michael Rand

Index

1. Vowel Quantity and Quality in Neo-Punic and Latin Inscriptions from Africa and Sardinia
Robert Crellin and Lucia Tamponi

Robert Crellin and Lucia Tamponi elucidate the vowel quality and quantity of Neo-Punic and Latin from North Africa and Sardinia. An important innovation presented in the article is the investigation not only of the representation of vowels in Neo-Punic by means of matres lectionis, but also of zero-representation and its relation to representation by matres lectionis. This sheds light on the degree of sensitivity of writers of Neo-Punic inscriptions to vowel length in Latin. The examination of the representation of vowel length and vowel quality further reveals that in both North Africa and Sardinia the distinction between /i, eː/ and /u, oː/ was retained despite the merger of these phonemes in Common Romance. The authors convincingly suggest that this is due to ties between North Africa and Sardinia. The article thus adds to our understanding of the linguistic development of both Romance and Punic in North Africa and Sardinia and to the relations between those two communities.

2. The Development of the Hebrew wayyiqṭol Verbal Form (‘Waw Consecutive’) in Light of Greek and Latin Transcriptions of Hebrew
Benjamin Kantor

Benjamin Kantor investigates the attestations of the wayyiqṭol form in ancient Greek and Latin transcriptions of Biblical Hebrew and compares those attestations with medieval Jewish traditions of Biblical Hebrew (Tiberian, Babylonian) and with the Samaritan tradition. It is shown that the Greek and Latin transcriptions help us understand the development of the later Jewish and Samaritan traditions. By the time of Jerome’s transcriptions (fourth/fifth century CE), the gemination following the initial wa- is generalised, whereas earlier, in Origen’s Secunda (circa first–third centuries CE), it is not fully developed. In the Samaritan tradition there is no trace of this kind of gemination. The article reaches the important conclusion that gemination in wayyiqṭol is a development of the Second Temple Jewish traditions, but not the Samaritan tradition.

3. The Representation of Gutturals by Vowels in the LXX of 2 Esdras
Peter Myers

Peter Myers seeks to shed light on the guttural consonants of Biblical Hebrew underlying transcriptions into Greek in 2 Esdras, the Greek translation of Ezra-Nehemiah in the Septuagint. The article goes about this by examining the vowels that are used where the underlying Hebrew pronunciation would be expected to have a guttural. Myers finds a degree of systematicity in the use of specific Greek vowels for specific Hebrew guttural consonants. The examination also corroborates earlier hypotheses regarding the loss of the velar fricatives /*ḫ/ and /*ġ/ in Hebrew by the time of the writing of Septuagint Ezra-Nehemiah.

4. Biblical Quotations in the Aramaic Incantation Bowls and Their Contribution to the Study of the Babylonian Reading Tradition
Dorota Molin

Dorota Molin’s article highlights the importance of the incantation bowls in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic from the sixth–seventh centuries CE for the study of the pre-Masoretic Babylonian reading tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Biblical quotations within these bowls constitute the only direct documentation of Biblical Hebrew from Babylonia at that time. The phonetic spelling of the quotations provides much information about their pronunciation. In a series of case studies Molin shows that the pronunciation of the quotations corresponds closely to the medieval Babylonian reading tradition. She also demonstrates that they reflect interference from the Aramaic vernacular, manifested especially in weakening of the guttural consonants, and that the writers drew from an oral tradition of the Hebrew Bible.

5. Phonological Adaptation and the Biblical Aramaic and Biblical Hebrew Reflexes of *i and *u
Benjamin D. Suchard

Benjamin Suchard treats the phenomenon of irregular reflexes of the vowels *i and *u in Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic from a novel perspective of ‘phonological adaptation’, whereby speakers of one language adapted borrowed forms to their own phonology. This process is known to be irregular. The author makes an innovative suggestion that in Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic, respectively, the irregular reflexes of the vowels *i and *u are due to the phonological adaptation of pre-Tiberian Hebrew to Aramaic phonology and of Biblical Hebrew to Palestinian Greek phonology. Such a process sheds light on general developments in the reading traditions and linguistic realities of Palestine of late antiquity.

6. Connecting the Dots: The Shared Phonological Tradition in Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew Vocalisation
Nick Posegay

Nick Posegay presents new data in his article on links between the various medieval vocalisation traditions of Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic. These include the identification of overlaps in the Aramaic terminology used by Jewish Masoretes and Christian Syriac grammarians and in the phonological theories that underlie them. Posegay thus provides new evidence that the systems did not develop in isolation, but where the result of intellectual exchanges between the various religious communities.

7. Discord between the Tiberian Written and Reading Traditions: Two Case Studies
Aaron D. Hornkohl

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).

8. Qere and Ketiv in the Exegesis of the Karaites and Saadya Gaon
Joseph Habib

Joseph Habib examines the attitudes of medieval Karaite exegetes and Saadya Gaon with regard to the qere and ketiv in the Masoretic Hebrew Bible on the basis of their commentaries and Arabic translations. Habib presents clear evidence that both Saadya and various Karaite exegetes relied on qere as well as ketiv for their exegesis. He shows that the main motivation to use one of the other as the basis of interpretation is harmonization with parallel verses.

9. Pausal Forms and Prosodic Structure in Tiberian Hebrew
Vincent DeCaen and B. Elan Dresher

Vincent DeCaen and Elan Dresher investigate the reasons that pausal forms in Tiberian Hebrew, which are expected to occur at the end of ‘intonational phrases’, at times appear where Tiberian accents are conjunctive rather than disjunctive. They challenge an earlier opinion that such mismatches represent different traditions or stages of interpreting the biblical text, maintaining instead that these mismatches are due to limitations inherent in the Tiberian system of accents.

10. Samuel ben Jacob’s Treatment of Exceptional Vocalic Shewas
Kim Phillips

Kim Phillips focuses on shewa signs that are pronounced as vocalic according to the Masoretic treatises in contexts where they would normally be expected to be silent. He examines how such shewas are represented by the scribe Samuel ben Jacob, who produced the Leningrad Codex and various other codices. The examination reveals that the scribe strove for graphic economy and was not completely consistent in the strategies that he adopted to represent the vocalic nature of the shewa in these contexts across the various manuscripts.

11. The Tiberian Tradition in Common Bibles from the Cairo Genizah
Benjamin Outhwaite

Benjamin Outhwaite examines how deviations from the standard Tiberian tradition found in ‘Common Bibles’ from the Cairo Genizah reveal the way Biblical Hebrew was pronounced by those who produced the manuscripts. Common Bibles have to date been studied far less than other biblical manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah. The study examines five fragments. It illustrates numerous deviations in notation from the standard conventions of Tiberian vocalisation and also many features that reflect a pronunciation different from that of the standard Tiberian tradition.

12. An Exploratory Typology of Near-Model and Non-Standard Tiberian Torah Manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah
Estara Arrant

Estara Arrant examines categories of Torah codices from the Cairo Genizah that have not been afforded sufficient scholarly attention, namely ‘near-model’ codices, a term coined by Arrant. The study analyses almost three hundred fragments by means of a methodology based on statistical analysis. The study shows how statistical methods can be employed to reveal sub-types of Torah fragments that share linguistic and codicological features.

13. Some Features for the Imperfect Oral Performance of the Tiberian Reading Tradition of Biblical Hebrew in the Middle Ages
Geoffrey Khan

Geoffrey Khan looks at imperfect performances of the prestigious Tiberian pronunciation tradition that are reflected in medieval Bible manuscripts. He proposes explanatory models for the development of such imperfect performances. Three factors are identified: interference of a less prestigious substrate, which he identifies as the Hebrew component of Jewish vernacular Arabic; hypercorrections; and varying degrees of acquisition of the Tiberian tradition. Khan describes these various phenomena and concludes that the imperfect performances must be datable to a period when the Tiberian pronunciation tradition was still alive and was familiar, though not perfectly, to the scribes.

14. On Some Variants in Ashkenazic Biblical Manuscripts from the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries
Élodie Attia

Élodie Attia examines the question of the relationship between early Ashkenazic Bible manuscripts and the Tiberian tradition as recorded in the earliest Tiberian manuscripts, especially the Leningrad Codex and the Damascus Pentateuch. The main Ashkenazic manuscript chosen for the study is Vat. Ebr. 14. The study challenges an earlier claim by Pérez Castro that early Ashkenazic Bible manuscripts were far removed from the Tiberian tradition in comparison with Sephardic manuscripts. Attia shows that by enlarging the corpus of Tiberian manuscripts and by including Ashkenazic manuscripts earlier than those previously studied, the relations between the two corpora appear more complex than has hitherto been believed.

15. The Prosodic Models of Andalusi Hebrew Metrics
José Martínez Delgado

José Martínez Delgado presents a detailed overview of the different models for explaining the metric system of Andalusi Hebrew poetry. The author focuses on four models, which are found in various historical documents and scholarly studies.

16. Marginalia to the Qillirian Rhyme System
Michael Rand

Michael Rand draws attention to some features in the so-called ‘Qillirian’ rhyme scheme, named after the great poet Eleazar be-Rabbi Qillir, who invented and introduced it into Hebrew piyyuṭ. In piyyuṭim with this type of rhyme, morphological elements, namely, two root consonants, form the basis of rhymes. Rand elucidates different ways in which this feature is implemented and how it may encompass both a linguistic reality and a poetic tool. Some rhymes reflect historical phonetic changes that took place in the pronunciation of Hebrew; others constitute poetic techniques. It is shown that in some cases /a/ rhymes with /e/, which is likely to reflect a phonetic reality rooted in the speech of the poets.