[b-hebrew] Hebrew as a Spoken Language vs. Aramaic

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Mon Oct 29 14:42:46 EDT 2007

I've read Qimron.  I'll have to see what I have of DJD 10.  I examined it for my book, but 
didn't really look that closely at the language discussion because it wasn't germane at the 

As I said before, I'm not in a position to have access to the journals at the moment (that's 
not likely to change for a good 6 months) so I can't examine Smith's article.  But what I have 
seen of material that uses the DSS to draw conclusions about popular language of the time 
is generally (I emphasize this word) based on extrapolation from what's observable in the 
scrolls themselves. I question the legitimacy of this extrapolation.  The majority of the 
arguments I have seen say something like: these documents, although they are religious in 
nature, show that Hebrew wasn't just a religious language, but was also a popular language.  
The discussions that I've seen, though, never quite explain HOW this is so.  Smith's study 
that you mention may indeed do such a thing, and if I can get my grubby little hands on it, I'll 
be glad to check it out.  To be continued.....................

On 29 Oct 2007 at 10:47, Ken Penner wrote:

> In response to Dave's position: 
> > Again, I suggest that the DSS tell us nothing about Hebrew as 
> > a common language of the era.
> The official publication of the DSS would suggest they do: E. Qimron, "The Language," Qumrân Cave 4.V: Miq?at Ma?ase Ha-Torah (DJD 10; Clarendon: Oxford, 1994), 78-80.
> Also, Mark Smith examined the time reference of the waw-consecutive
> verbs in a broad selection of Qumran texts (Pesharim, Rule of the
> Community, Rule of the Congregation, Rule of Benedictions, War Scroll,
> Temple Scroll, and Halakhic Letter). He concluded that two usages of
> tenses (literary and spoken) existed in both Biblical and Qumran
> Hebrew: the literary form preserved the use of the (past)
> waw-consecutive, and the spoken form discarded it.  (M. Smith, The
> Origins and Development of the Waw-Consecutive; "Converted and
> Unconverted Perfect and Imperfect Forms in the Literature of Qumran,"
> BASOR 284 (1991):1-16; and "4Q462: A Preliminary Edition," Revue de
> Qumrân 15 (1991-2): 55-77.) 
> Ken
> Ken M. Penner, Ph.D. (McMaster)
> Acadia/Greek&Hebrew
> Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic vocabulary memorization software: 
> http://purl.org/net/kmpenner/flash

Dave Washburn
Why do it right when you can do it again?

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list