The Use of גם and אף in Qumran Hebrew

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Ever since the discovery of the first Hebrew Dead Sea Scrolls, the description and linguistic analysis of their language has been one of the prime concerns. For even to those who are mainly interested in the contents of the texts found at Qumran, a good command and understanding of the language they were written in is a prerequisite, especially in light of the fragmentary state of many of the scrolls and snippets. Indeed, once the old age of the scrolls had been confirmed, hopes were high: could it be that they offered a glimpse at the missing link between the distinct Hebrew varieties of the Bible and Tannaitic literature? In the meantime, after countless piecemeal studies on various aspects of Qumran Hebrew—many of them presented in the proceedings of the symposia on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira—and after the more comprehensive works of E. Y. Kutscher and Elisha Qimron, the status of Qumran Hebrew as an offshoot or continuation of Late Biblical Hebrew is more or less agreed upon. While this strong connection with Biblical Hebrew can be seen in many substantial as well as minor aspects of the language, e.g., in the verbal system in the increase in the use of the long 1s. Imperfect form וָאֶבְנֶה with past tense meaning, or in the use and function of the Participle, there are also similarities shared only with Tannaitic Hebrew, such as the word עכשו in 4Q225 2 ii 7, the o/u vowel of the Niphal Participle נודפ in 1QIsaa 34:6 (Isa 41:2), a form typical of I-n roots in Tannaitic Hebrew, the masculine gender of the noun כוס in 1QIsaa 43:12 (Isa 51:22) and elsewhere, or the passive use of the t-stem. Thus, the frame of reference for the work on Qumran Hebrew has essentially remained the same over the years: findings are normally compared to Biblical Hebrew and Tannaitic Hebrew in order to highlight similarities and differences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHebrew Texts and Language of the Second Temple Period
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of an Eighth Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira
EditorsSteven E. Fassberg
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789004447981
ISBN (Print)9789004447974
StatePublished - 25 May 2021

Publication series

NameStudies in the Texts of the Desert of Judah
ISSN (Print)0169-9962

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Linguistics and Language


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