[b-hebrew] will: modern vs. old hebrew

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Tue Dec 28 20:32:31 EST 2010

On Tue, 28 Dec 2010 21:53:42 -0300, "Nir cohen - Prof. Mat." <nir at ccet.ufrn.br> wrote:
> will,
> i completely agree with you, but i did not pursue this direction 
> since it might be irrelevant to the goals of this forum. in a nutshell, modern
> hebrew (in some of its manifestations) makes a claim to SUBSUME 
> old hebrew, and in particular biblical hebrew. whether correct or incorrect,
> possible or impossible (and this depends largely on whom you ask), 
> this claim has no parallel in the case of latin, nor in the case of
> swedish/norwegian. i believe that modern english has a similar claim w.r.t. 
> the work of shakespere, german w.r.t. the luther bible translation, 
> and modern standard arabic w.r.t. classical arabic.


I am not completely sure I'm following your train of thought here.  If
you're saying that modern speakers of Hebrew can look at Biblical Hebrew
as a kind of "classical" version of their own language, I would suppose
that's true, although the reasons that's possible are not quite parallel
to the relationship of Modern English to Elizabethan English, or of Modern
German to the language of Luther's Bible translation.  In the latter cases,
the modern languages have grown out of the earlier stages of the languages
in question; in the case of Hebrew, it's not so much a case of the normal
process of evolution of a spoken language as an extremely atypical (perhaps
unique) re-invention of a spoken language on the basis of an earlier model,
in fact in many cases consciously choosing BH as its model rather than later
forms (such as Mishnaic Hebrew) of the same language.

Will Parsons

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