Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BBR 25:1 (2015) p. 81
Avi Hurvitz, in collaboration with Leeor Gottlieb, Aaron D. Hornkohl, and Emmanuel Mastéy. A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew: Linguistic Innovations in the Writings of the Second Temple Period. VTSup 160. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Pp. x + 270. ISBN 978-90-04-26611-7. $128.00 cloth.
A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew is the first lexicon specifically devoted to Biblical Hebrew lexical typology. Its primary author, Avi Hurvitz, is a longtime advocate for the dating of biblical texts according to the the traditional three-period typological division of biblical Hebrew: Archaic Biblical Hebrew (ABH), Classical (Standard) Biblical Hebrew (CBH), and Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH).
As stated in the prolegomenon, A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew operates under the premise that “the fifth century BCE was a critical turning point in the history of the Hebrew language; texts written from this point on reveal unique linguistic features that are entirely absent in the earlier sources” (p. 1). According to Hurvitz et al., LBH’s distinctive characteristics fall into four main categories: Persian loanwords, Aramaic interference, Rabbinic Hebrew elements, and independent inner-biblical Hebrew elements.
Following Hurvitz’s methodology as set forth elsewhere (e.g., “Can Biblical Texts Be Dated Linguistically? Chronological Perspectives in the Historical Study of Biblical Hebrew,” in Congress Volume: Oslo, 1998 [ed. André Lemaire and Magne Saebø; VTSup 80; Leiden: Brill, 2000] 143-60), the prolegomenon outlines four criteria for identifying a LBH feature: limitation to acknowledged late compositions (Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles), correspondence with a CBH equivalent, frequent attestation in extrabiblical sources contemporary with or following LBH (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls and Rabbinic Hebrew), and frequent rather than sporadic occurrence in LBH.
The lexicon proper, which contains 80 distinct lexical entries, follows the prolegomenon and a brief description of structure of the lexicon’s entries. The typical entry contains the Hebrew lemma (accompanied by its part of speech, English gloss, and appearances in the Hebrew Bible), its Biblical Aramaic form (when applicable), its classical alternatives, examples of the lemma’s distribution and usage in extrabiblical sources from the Second Temple period through the end of the Talmudic era, comment and discussion, and, lastly, relevant bibliography.
A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew helpfully brings together in one volume the studies of Hurvitz and like-minded scholars on lexemes thought to be distinctive of LBH. It presents the data on these words in convenient format, making it a very useful referenc...
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