One more look at the negation of the infinitive construct in Second Temple Hebrew

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2 Scopus citations


Second Temple Hebrew (Late Biblical Hebrew, Ben Sira, and Qumranic Hebrew) makes predicative use of two seemingly similar constructions: lo + infinitive and ʼen + infinitive. A syntactic examination of the two from a historical perspective, in light of morphosyntactic changes in the verbal system of Second Temple Hebrew and its sentence patterns, reveals that in spite of the similarities between them in form and in function, these are two separate constructions that evolved independently. The former, initially a verbal phrase, is the negative counterpart of the affirmative predicative infinitive, and the latter, which constitutes a complete predication, is an offshoot of the existential pattern yesh/ʼen + nominal phrase. In the Hebrew style of the Second Temple period the difference between them narrowed, so that they were occasionally interchangeable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-456
Number of pages20
JournalVetus Testamentum
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2015


  • Ben Sira
  • Infinitive
  • Late Biblical Hebrew
  • Modality
  • Negation
  • Predicativity
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • History
  • Linguistics and Language


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