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Participle: Rabbinic Hebrew

(2,401 words)

Author(s): Geiger, Gregor
One of the most salient differences between Rabbinic (Mishnaic) Hebrew and older stages of the language, especially Biblical Hebrew, is the fact that in Rabbinic Hebrew, the participle functions as a regular present tense (i.e., it conveys contemporaneity with the action of speech). In Biblical Hebrew, ‘present tense’ is merely a special case of the participial clause’s broader function of contemporaneity (i.e., denoting action contemporary with the context). This shift in function is a conseque…

Participle: Biblical Hebrew

(2,233 words)

Author(s): Geiger, Gregor
A participle is a word that belongs to a verbal root in a specific binyan (either active or passive), but has the morphological inflection of a noun. The term participle (Latin: participium) expresses the fact that it shares (Latin: participat) verbal and nominal features (on these features see Sellin 1889). The Hebrew name for the participle—בינוני benoni (intermediate)—originally designated the intermediate status of this form between past and future (Dyk 1994:367); this feature holds true for Mediaeval and Modern Hebrew, but not, however, for Biblical. The Hebrew participle e…

Tense: Rabbinic Hebrew

(1,412 words)

Author(s): Geiger, Gregor
The post-biblical Hebrew tense system, i.e., the way ‘tense’ is expressed grammatically by verbal forms, was subject to an extensive reorganization, influenced to a certain degree by Aramaic or possibly by other vernaculars, such as Greek. On the one hand, some forms or constructions common in Biblical Hebrew developed new usages or fell out of use except in quotations or in sentences influenced by biblical texts. On the other hand, some entirely new constructions developed. The following biblical verbal forms ceased to be used in Rabbinic Hebrew: wayyiqṭol; ‘converted’ wə-qaṭal (ex…

Manuscript Sources of Hebrew from the Judean Desert

(1,828 words)

Author(s): Geiger, Gregor
Since 1947 fragments of approximately 700 Hebrew manuscripts (and of about 300 manuscripts in other languages, mostly Aramaic) have been found in the Judean Desert, the semi-arid region on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Most of the manuscripts were found in eleven caves near Khirbet Qumran; the rest come from various other locales, especially Wadi Murabbaʿāt, Naḥal Ḥever, and Masada. Whereas the first manuscripts were published almost immediately, the publication of many of the others, espec…