Need a Little Help from the Linguistics Nerds…

Okay all of you Hebrew linguistics nerds out there, I need a little help.  I’m putting together my reading lists for my comprehensive exams, and one of them will be on modern linguistics and biblical Hebrew.  So hit me, your best monograph recommendations, either with regard to general linguistic theory, or to the application of modern linguistic theories to biblical Hebrew especially.  I have a lot of ideas already (more than I probably need), but I thought somebody out there might be able to point me in the direction of something I would never have come across otherwise.  Thanks in advance.

Oh Right, Mid-Term…

I haven’t had a post in a while due to school work and editing responsibilities, so today was the first time I’ve checked in on the old blog in a few days.  I took a quick look at the graph that displays my hits per day and for some weird reason yesterday had this huge spike.  Huh?  I haven’t even been posting.  Oh wait, tomorrow’s the Intermediate Hebrew mid-term.  And IH students have the address for my Hebrew Stuff page, where I keep links to vocab and paradigm drills.  Now I get it.  And yes, my average daily hits are so low that I do notice a couple of dozen people all of sudden checking out the site on a given day.  Ah well.

Also, Roland Boer has made the move over to WordPress, so update your links accordingly.  And just in case he reads this, you still owe me a response about idolatry in Isaiah, Boer (shakes fist warningly).

Isaiah again…

Still working with Isaiah 53, trying to think through all of the text critical problems that the text presents.  Isaiah 53:2 presents a classic text critical problem:

In all of the extant witnesses to the Greek tradition of Isaiah 53:2 opens with:

ἀνηγγείλαμεν ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ ὡς παιδίον*

which one might render roughly as “We have reported before (or against?) him as a child.”  Compare this to the MT:

וַיַּ֨עַל כַּיּוֹנֵ֜ק לְפָנָ֗יו וְכַשֹּׁ֙רֶשׁ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צִיָּ֔ה

which one might render roughly as “And he went up like a shoot/branch before him.”  (Note the NASB follows MT alone here and throughout Isa 53).**

Joseph Ziegler, who edited the Göttingen LXX volume for Isaiah has a fairly lengthy discussion in his intro regarding this problem (second half of p. 99).  He suggests that the text be emmended here to read ἀνατεῖλeι μεν ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ ὡς παιδίον.  The trouble is, this is nowhere attested by manuscripts, versions, or tradition (i.e. quotations).  But, as he suggests in this discussion, there is considerable internal evidence in Isaiah where both ἀνατεῖλeι and ἀνηγγείλαμεν are attested and the preferable reading is ἀνατεῖλeι.  He points to Isa 42:9, 43:19, 45:8, and 47:13, as examples of this preference for ἀνατεῖλeι.

This stands, however, against the general preference in text criticism for the more difficult reading.  The more difficult reading is preferred because it is easy to see how one might emend the text to make it more sensible or to make it follow a more commonly found pattern or collocation.  Of course, the preference for a more difficult reading doesn’t extend to readings that are incomprehensible garbage, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.  Tov (in his LXX/MT parallel) has no explanation for the Greek variant apart from an alternative text tradition.  So both Ziegler and the NASB are countermanding one of the standard principles of text criticism.

What seems most likely to me is that the LXX represents a different Vorlage (that is, a different underlying Hebrew tradition) than the Massoretic tradition.  I don’t even have a guess at which Vorlage, the MT or LXX, is the more original reading in this case.  I just can’t see a clear reason why either text would produce the other.  Any suggestions?

* Sorry, having trouble with my Greek fonts.

**Just in case anybody’s curious, both 1QIsa a and b follow Codex Leningrad in this case, as does Aleppo.

The Hardest Part…

I’m hosting my first ever Intro Hebrew tutorial tomorrow. The idea is that students in the college’s Intro Hebrew course can show up for some extra help with whatever they’re struggling with. The class is using Pratico/Van Pelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew (the same text I learned on), and they’re just starting the chapter on adjectives in class tomorrow. So these students are still pretty much brand new to the Hebrew language. I’m trying to remember what it was that I found hardest at that point in my studies. Probably it was syllabification and vocalization (I still have trouble with vocalization sometimes). I’m interested to see where people are struggling tomorrow.

So for those of you who’ve done some Hebrew, what was the hardest part for you? Where was the learning curve the steepest in your novice Hebrew days? And for that matter, what kinds of things do you think students would find valuable in a tutorial?

Fiddling, and The Servant Song…

Still fiddling with the new WordPress features.  I like this theme much more than the last and I think I’ll stick with it for a while.  Points to whoever can name the document in the header pic.

I’ve also been fiddling with the text-critical issues in Isaiah 53.  I’ve never troubled to read the LXX translation, and now I know I was the poorer for it.  There are some fascinating changes, but the one that’s really piqued my interest is the LXX reading that clearly indicates a taw at the end of verse 8, thus producing the translation εἰς θάνατον. I’m not reading any secondary literature on the subject at the moment (part of the assignment) and I still have lots of other texts to finish reading, including both Isaiah scrolls from Qumran and a quick look over the Vulgate (as much as my non-existent Latin can manage at least), but what seemed at first like a clear case of later Christian interpolation does not seem so clear-cut to me now.  More anon.

Also, what did I do to my back!?  I’m like a friggin cripple here!

New Stuff…

So here’s the new WordPress page. I won’t bore you with the reasons for the move from blogger, but suffice to say I’m happy so far. Also I’ve added a page for online Hebrew resources. Feel free to check it out, and of course to suggest additional content.

A New BH Resource…

HT to John Hobbins for pointing out Matthew Anstey’s Hebrew Portal.  It looks to still be in production, but the bibliography alone is worth the visit.  Just getting through the whole bibliography (not the books mind you, just the list) is a daunting task…it’s that long.  I’m adding it to my bookmarks for sure, and so should you.*

*Unless you don’t read or study Hebrew, in which case, nevermind.