[b-hebrew] Mishnaic Hebrew

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 19:26:34 EST 2011


I looked at your documents linked to below, and found concepts that I
rejected decades ago because they did not fit the text of the Tanakh. In
other words, they are not the last word on the subject.

In short, I don’t dispute the scholarship that went into the writing of
those documents. Rather I claim that the scholars that you depended on were
not accurate in their understanding of Biblical Hebrew. And I question some
of their other conclusions as well.

As far as Mishnaic Hebrew, all I know about it is what I have read on this
list. As far as it being natively spoken, I have seen nothing that
indicates that it was nor proof that it wasn’t. Rather what you have is
people speaking it as a second language, some very well copying aspects
from Biblical Hebrew, others more like Hebrew words on an Aramaic grammar
of that time. Those selected to write documents would be chosen from among
the better speakers, until that class was largely wiped out by the Romans.
Hence one would expect to find a range of abilities before the Jewish
revolts against the Romans, and apparently that is what is found.

But I do find indications that those who came to Judea after the Babylonian
exile to repopulate that empty land did not speak Hebrew on the street nor
at the hearth. I then extrapolate from that to expect that the same
situation probably continued through the Mishnaic period. So far I have
seen no evidence (scholars’ theories yes, but no evidence) that my
extrapolation is unfounded.

Karl W. Randolph.

On Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 5:49 AM, David Steinberg <
david.l.steinberg at rogers.com> wrote:

> There have been a number of mentions of Mishnaic Hebrew without any
> background re. its linguistic structure, relationship to Biblical Hebrew
> and Aramaic, history, or locations of use. For some info on the topic
> see the following and their links -
> Mishnaic, Middle or Rabbinic Hebrew -
> http://www.adath-shalom.ca/history_of_hebrew.htm#mishheb
> Development of Proto-Mishnaic Hebrew -
> http://www.houseofdavid.ca/anc_heb_diglossia.htm#koine_PMH
> David Steinberg

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