Modern Hebrew 3
ButhFam at compuserve.com
Sat May 18 19:58:01 EDT 2002
>For exegesis, no way. I believe it
>was William Chomsky who said that Modern Hebrew is more an
>Indo-European language than a Semitic one, especially in terms of
>syntax. That's not going to be much help in sorting out the
>mysteries of Biblical Hebrew.
I think that this misrepresents modern Hebrew's value. It does not
provide evidence on its own for the ancient language. Far from it.
But it does allow a research to cover more ground and thereby
notice more details and have a closer reading, better feel for the
texture of what is being read. Plus more direct and easier access into
material like mishnaic Hebrew, which does contain remnant hebrew
material that never made it into "biblical" by simple accident.
E.g., kelev 'dog' = biblical, Hatul 'cat' mishnaic. As they say to
no one in particular, Go figure. :-)
And wouldn't you agree that a researcher whose active vocabulary
was in the neighborhood of, say, 10,000 words would be in a better
position to interpret texts and start off in the right directions than
someone whose vocabulary was 2,000? A fluent control and use
of a language maintains a higher active vocabulary, for one.
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