[b-hebrew] comparative historical linguistics was Re: Nun-Tav-Vet root

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Fri Nov 24 17:37:07 EST 2006

On 24/11/2006 14:34, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

> ... It is
> therefore, still, "Massoretic Hebrew" you are studying, and not the
> Hebrew as spoken during Biblical times, where the use of the mater
> lectionis would have been accurate and fitting the Hebrew they spoke.
> That Massoretic Hebrew incorporates so many different periods is one
> very important reason why historical linguistics is important.
Indeed. The text I am studying is Masoretic Hebrew, but in doing so I am 
seeking to understand and reconstruct the meaning intended by the 
original authors, usually with the purpose of translation. Therefore, 
although I generally accept the Masoretic pointing as a good guide to 
how the word intended by the original authors was pronounced in 
Masoretic times, I do not (unlike the translators of the new JPS Tanakh) 
specifically translate the Masoretic text, but rather the original 
Hebrew text to which the Masoretic text bears witness. In practice the 
difference is most clearly seen with textual variants: in the rare cases 
where there is strong evidence that say LXX or the Samaritan Pentateuch 
rather than the Masoretic text is more original, I translate the former. 
But this is in principle the case in other ways. Thus the language I 
work with is not Masoretic but biblical Hebrew - in its various varieties.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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