[b-hebrew] Re: PS /g/

Ken Penner pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Wed Nov 17 10:29:27 EST 2004

To balance some statements made on b-hebrew:

> I was being generous in saying that the samekh lost its 
> differentiation from sin at about 300 BCE because of the 
> people on this list who insist that Hebrew was still spoken 
> in Judea as late as 100 CE or later. 

The question of spoken Hebrew between the Bible and the Mishnah is no longer
a real debate, since Segal's work on the Mishnah and the discovery of the
Dead Sea Scrolls (especially the Copper Scroll, 4QMMT, and the Bar Kokhba
documents). These texts show changes that are explicable as the continued
development of a living language, not as an artificially revived Hebraised

> It is hard to say anything definite about pre-esilic 
> pronunciation when the earliest hard evidence we have is from 
> over a 1000 years later, namely the Masorites. 

We have quite a bit of evidence beginning with the 3rd century BCE,
especially from Origen's second column of the Hexapla. We also have the
Samaritan text (which shows some interchange of samekh and sin, shin and
tsade, tsade and zayin compared to the MT)? Even within the MT consonantal
text, we find the same interchanges, in parallels and Ketiv/Qere.

Ken Penner, McMaster/DSS
Dead Sea Scrolls scholars' list owner,

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list