Pre-modern Hebrew

Biblical Hebrew

Authored by: Aaron D. Hornkohl

The Semitic Languages

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9780415731959
eBook ISBN: 9780429025563
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



“Pre-modern Hebrew” is a maximally inclusive term that encompasses the language of a variety of material from a period spanning around three thousand years, ca. 1200 bce–1900 ce (Saénz-Badillos 1993). The historical periodization of the language, each phase entailing a linguistically heterogenous assemblage of material, may be schematicized as follows:

Iron Age (ca. 1200–6th century bce): Epigraphy (Aḥituv, Garr, and Fassberg 2016); Literary (biblical) texts (Lam and Pardee 2016)

Persian (Achaemenid) Period (6th–4th centuries bce): Literary (biblical) texts (Morgenstern 2016) and sparse extra-biblical material (Greenfield and Naveh 1984: 122)

Hellenistic (4th–1st centuries bce) and Roman Period (1st century bce–4th century ce): Literary – biblical and extra-biblical material from the Judean Desert (Joosten and Rey 2016); Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus; van Peursen 2016); Tannaitic sources (Kutscher and Breuer 2007); Samaritan Pentateuch reading tradition (Florentin 2013, 2016); Greek and Latin transcriptional evidence (Yuditsky 2013); Documentary – receipts, letters and contracts from the Judean Desert (Mor 2013); Epigraphy – epitaphs, numismatics, lists

Byzantine Period (4th–7th centuries ce): Amoraic sources (Breuer 2013); Liturgical poetry (Rand 2013)

Medieval and Ottoman Period (7th–18th centuries ce): Translations, science, philosophy, secular and liturgical poetry (Sáenz-Badillos 2013)

Late pre-modern (late 18th–early 20th centuries ce): Europe (late 18th–late 19th centuries ce) – Jewish Enlightenment (Haskala) (Kahn 2013a); Hasidic tales (Kahn 2013b); Palestine – Revival (Teḥiya) and revernacularization (late 19th–early 20th centuries ce (Reshef 2013a, 2013b) (see Chapter 22)

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.