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Hebrew Study from Ezra to Ben-Yehuda [Hardcover]

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Pages   337
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.51" Width: 6.38" Height: 1.27"
Weight:   1.68 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 9, 2000
Publisher   T. & T. Clark Publishers
ISBN  056708602X  
EAN  9780567086020  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The study of the Hebrew language has been a major preoccupation of many Jews and non-Jews since ancient times. This book fully illuminates this fascinating history. Substantial sections of the book deal with the Second Temple period, when Hebrew was cultivated alongside the Aramaic and Greek vernaculars; the Roman empire; the medieval period, with special attention to the Karaite Jews and their characteristic Hebrew, the Renaissance and early modern period, including the efflorescence of Christian Hebrew study in Italy and northern Europe; and the revival of Hebrew in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Europe, in Palestine under the British mandate, and in modern Israel. Experts in various periods collaborate to make this book a valuable introduction to an area lacking a comprehensive survey.--Wido Van Peursen, Bibliotheca Orientalis LVII No.5/6 (September-December 2000) "To find in one volume such a large sample of distinguished British scholars writing on a rather forgotten topic is doubtless a brilliant display of the state of scholarship on Jewish Studies in the United Kingdom at the end of the century, and it creates in the reader a sense of optimism." --Angel Saenz Badillos, Journal of Jewish Studies 52.1 (Spring 2001)>

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More About William Horbury

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! William Horbury is Professor of Jewish and Early Christian Studies, University of Cambridge, UK.

William Horbury currently resides in the state of Massachusetts. William Horbury has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Cambridge.

William Horbury has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cambridge History of Judaism

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Hebrew Study from Ezra to Ben-Yehuda  May 26, 2000
This volume is a collection of papers which were read at the 1996 meeting of the British Association for Jewish Studies. Nine of the 22 contributors are from the University of Cambridge where the editor of the volume is Professor of Jewish and Early Christian Studies. The collection provides a comprehensive survey of Hebrew study from the Second Temple period to modern times.

Throughout the essays three major themes are apparent: (1) Many Jews studied Hebrew as an acquired second or third language, accessing it through either their mother tongue or yet another language. (2) Through the centuries, the primary focus of Hebrew studies has been the biblical texts. (3) The acquisition of Hebrew has depended upon the nature of available aids and tools (viz., translations, transliterations, grammars, and lexicons). Essays representative of these three foci are, respectively: (1) Judith Olszowy-Schlanger's "The Knowledge of Hebrew among Early Karaites, and Its Use in Karaite Legal Contracts" (165-85), (2) Geoffrey Khan's "The Karaite Tradition of Hebrew Grammatical Thought" (186-203), and (3) Philip S. Alexander's "How Did the Rabbis Learn Hebrew?" (71-89).

Joachim Schaper's "Hebrew and Its Study in the Persian Period" (15-26) will be of interest to students of the post-exilic period while Jonathan Campbell's essay on "Hebrew and Its Study at Qumran" (38-52) will attract those fascinated by the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries. Schaper, Campbell, and Alexander all agree that the language situation among Palestinian Jews in the Second Temple period was complex. Schaper believes that Aramaic usage was restricted to the upper classes while the common people spoke Hebrew (16-17). Alexander sets a date of 200 C.E. for Hebrew's disappearance as a vernacular (73). On the other hand, the editor (William Horbury) in his essay takes a slightly different view: "Despite the discovery of Hebrew texts at Qumran and among the Bar Kokhba letters, and of some Hebrew inscriptions, Aramaic was probably the principal language even of Jewish biblical study" (129-30; in "The Hebrew Matthew and Hebrew Study").

"St Jerome and the Meaning of the High-Priestly Vestments" by Robert Hayward (90-105) investigates Jerome's display of Hebrew scholarship in a letter he wrote to Fabiola in 397 C.E. The letter provides evidence of Jerome's dependence upon and interaction with Josephus, the Septuagint, and Philo. His critical assessment of these sources provides the observer with proof of Jerome's powers of analytical thought, philology, and theology.

Following Jerome's brief revival of the study of classical Hebrew in the 4th-5th centuries, Christian Hebraists became practically extinct throughout the Byzantine Empire's era (Nicholas de Lange, "A Thousand Years of Hebrew in Byzantium," 147-61). The essays in Part V describe the reappearance of Christian Hebraists. Raphael Loewe ("Alexander Neckam's Knowledge of Hebrew," 207-23) investigates the Hebrew competence of Richard I's foster brother, Alexander Neckam who lived 1157-1217. Neckam is a corruption of a Latin nick-name meaning "good-for-nothing" (nequam). In his biblical commentaries, Neckam displays more mystical exegesis (Hebrew anagrams, gematria, and haggadah) than grammatical exegesis. In "Robert Wakefield (d. 1537): The Father of English Hebraists?" (234-48) by Gareth Lloyd Jones, a letter of gratitude to Henry VIII from students at Cambridge provides the introduction. Henry had generously provided for the hiring of "a most learned and industrious" teacher of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic (234).

Part VI includes one essay that reveals a significant event in the University of Cambridge's history: "A Jewish Usurper among Christian Hebraists? - Cambridge, 1866" (279-92) by Stefan C. Reif. Edward Ullendorff's essay delves into the role of Hebrew in British administrated Palestine from 1919-1948 ("Hebrew in Mandatary Palestine," 300-6). Risa Domb's essay entitled "`Hebrew, Speak Hebrew': The Place of Hebrew in Modern Hebrew Literature" (307-17) traces links between Hebrew and national identity in modern Hebrew novels, short stories, and poetry.

Essays not mentioned in this review include the following: James K. Aitken, "Hebrew Study in Ben Sira's Beth Midrash" (27-37); Jan Willem van Henten, "The Ancestral Language of the Jews in 2 Maccabees" (53-68); Lawrence Lahey, "Hebrew and Aramaic in the Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila" (106-21); David Noy, "`Peace upon Israel': Hebrew Formulae and Names in Jewish Inscriptions from the Western Roman Empire" (135-46); Anders Berquist, "Christian Hebrew Scholarship in Quattrocento Florence" (224-33); Graham Davies, "Some Points of Interest in Sixteenth-Century Translations of Exodus 15" (249-56); Peter van Rooden, "The Amsterdam Translation of the Mishnah" (257-67); A. H. Lesser, "Samson Raphael Hirsch's Use of Hebrew Etymology" (271-78); and, George Mandel, "Resistance to the Study of Hebrew: The Experiences of Peretz Smolenskin and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda" (292-99).

Front material includes a helpful section entitled "Notes on Contributors" (ix-xi) and an "Introduction" by the editor who presents a detailed survey of the contents and contributions of the various essays (1-12). The body of the volume is divided into six parts arranged chronologically: Part I, "The Second Temple Period" (13-68, four essays); Part II, "Rabbinic and Early Christian Hebraists" (69-131, four essays); Part III, "Rome and Byzantium" (133-61, two essays); Part IV, "The Karaites" (163-203, two essays); Part V, "Christian Hebraists in Mediaeval and Early Modern Europe" (205-67, five essays); and, Part VI, "The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries" (269-317). Back material includes a "Select Bibliography" (319-20) and a full set of useful indexes for authors, proper names, places, and subjects (321-37).


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