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Showing papers in "Journal for Semitics in 2011"


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors discuss the early history of Hebrew, in the light of the view still held by many conservative or evangelical scholars that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, and what alphabet could have been used at about 1200 B.C.E., what was the state of Northwest Semitic languages at that stage and how did Hebrew evolve from the older language strata.
Abstract: This article discusses some aspects of the early history of Hebrew, in the light of the view still held by many conservative or evangelical scholars that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Important questions to be answered are what alphabet could have been used at about 1200 B.C.E., what was the state of Northwest Semitic languages at that stage and how did Hebrew evolve from the older language strata. Important indications are the developments regarding cases, articles, vowel letters and the loss of certain consonants. For the discussion a number of Ugaritic, Hebrew, Aramaic and Phoenician texts are discussed. The language of the last part of the second millennium and the language of the Pentateuch clearly come from different eras.

7 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, a comparison between Psalm 139:7-12 in the Old Testament and mythological imagery in the ancient Near East is made to get a better understanding of the religious background of shahar in this text.
Abstract: This paper focuses on the meaning of shahar ( ) in Psalm 139:7-12. A comparison will be made between Psalm 139:7-12 in the Old Testament and mythological imagery in the ancient Near East to get a better understanding of the religious background of shahar in this text. The investigation of the religious background of "dawn" helps to understand how the negative feeling of the one praying in Psalm 139 is transformed into positive imagery. Like the flying deity Shahar, YHWH is not bound to one realm, emphasizing that one cannot hide from YHWH. The same image can be used for the one praying in Psalm 139. Using spatial orientation in Psalm 139:7-12, the idea is further illustrated by concluding that God is present in all the realms. Ancient Near Eastern vertical and horizontal orientation will be utilised to illustrate how the focus in the psalm falls upon YHWH's omnipresence.

7 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: This article put forward a possible Egyptian origin for the book of Judith (Judith) based on three inter-linking factors: the Samaritan links in the book, Judith's dual nature, which strongly resembles that of Anat; and the events in Judith which find strong parallels in the history of the Egyptian Jews at Elephantine and Leontopolis.
Abstract: This article puts forward a possible Egyptian origin for the book of Judith (Judith). The hypothesis is based on three inter-linking factors: the Samaritan links in the book; Judith's dual nature, which strongly resembles that of Anat; and the events in Judith which find strong parallels in the history of the Egyptian Jews at Elephantine and Leontopolis. In order to reach its goal, the article merges certain historical-critical methods with the author's favoured Jungian psychoanalytic approach.

4 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors focus on the exilic/post-exilic reworking of the Isaianic tradition of First Isaiah 1:4-9 and show how the tradition of Isaiah's prophecies was reworked in order to show that they had received their fulfilment at the time when the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem reached their lowest ebb.
Abstract: Israel of the exilic/post-exilic period did not run away from its catastrophic history, but instead seized the political catastrophe as an opportunity to examine its past theologically. No era in Israel’s history contributed more to theology than the exile. Furthermore, it is clear from the complex way in which the prophetic books have been compiled over a very long period of time that they were the subject of further reflection and adaptation long after the original prophet had died. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of the book of the prophet Isaiah. The exilic/post-exilic reworking of the Isaianic tradition has been decisive for the character of First Isaiah and for the image of the prophet. This phase of reworking is characterised by the view that the disasters that befell Judah are to be seen as Yahweh’s just punishment of the people’s disobedience. This article will focus on Isaiah 1:4-9 as an example in order to indicate how the tradition of Isaiah’s prophecies was reworked in order to show that they had received their fulfilment at the time when the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem reached their lowest ebb.

4 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The Pentateuchal texts on the patriarchs of ancient Israel are not only extensive, but are also widely regarded as foundational to understanding the historical beginnings and the early faith impulses of later Israel-Judah as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The patriarchs of ancient Israel are often regarded as among the founding figures from whom the Yahwistic faith sprang. The Pentateuchal texts on Abram/Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel are not only extensive, but are also widely regarded as foundational to understanding the historical beginnings and the early faith impulses of later Israel-Judah. However, in this paper some outlines, based on the author's recently published research, are drawn which recast historically the patriarchs and the texts that refer to them. Maneuvering between the two by now conventional understandings of the patriarchal texts as either relatively ancient and hence reasonably reliable regarding the patriarchs or relatively young and hence unreliable with respect to the patriarchs, the present proposal takes a different view. It takes seriously the fact that the first extra-Pentateuchal occurrences of patriarchal references are comparatively late (Jacob: Hosea 12, slightly pre-725; Isaac: Amos 7, post-722; Abraham: Deutero-Isaiah, post-586). The Pentateuchal narratives on these three figures are not to be placed far apart from these occurrences in the corpus propheticum. The patriarchs and their Pentateuchal texts are thus not separated by centuries. Yet, the relationship between patriarch and text cannot for this reason be assumed to be simple. Quite the contrary: the historical-critical problems usually identified and then ascribed to the vagaries of the centuries have now to be sought at least as much in the figures these texts refer to. The textualised patriarchs are namely composite figures, reflecting historically separate, yet in some ways related antecedent personae.

3 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, it is argued that scholars of religion and anthropology should prevent falling victim to what is termed "the fallacy of assumed cosmology" by rather using different terms to describe phenomena within a magico-mythical cosmology (significant universe) as opposed to terms in a modern scientific cosmology.
Abstract: It is argued that scholars of religion and anthropology should prevent falling victim to what is termed "the fallacy of assumed cosmology" by rather using different terms to describe phenomena within a magico-mythical cosmology (significant universe) as opposed to terms in a modern scientific cosmology (symbolic universe). The author therefore suggests that the terms signs, idols, images, icons, rituals, spells / enchantments, curses, blessings, customs, taboos and the concept of sacredness are restricted to a magico-mythical cosmology. In contrast terms such as symbol, statue, picture, ceremony, formula, habit, convention and respect should be reserved for the modern scientific cosmology and be avoided when describing phenomena from magico-mythical contexts such as the Old Testament, ancient texts and pre-scientific cultures.

3 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In a previous study as discussed by the authors, the author took under review the direct references to the patriarchs in the Psalms, indicating that it is only in Psalm 105 that the persons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are specified.
Abstract: In a previous study, the author took under review the direct references to the patriarchs in the Psalms, indicating that it is only in Psalm 105 that the persons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are specified. Three possible reasons for this - "place in history", "cultic setting", and "differences in 'levels' of religious practice" - were suggested as possible sociological explanations for this paucity of patriarchal references in the Psalter. These reasons are in this paper reconsidered in the light of the author's currently developing theory on the patriarchs of ancient Israel, which consists of viewing the patriarchs as late (8th century and later) composite figures.

2 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The reception history of the Hebrew Bible has been examined in this paper, where it is argued that though of relatively marginal concern overall, it played a definite albeit varied and complex role in Nietzsche's philosophy of religion.
Abstract: While many texts discuss Nietzsche’s philosophy of religion and his relationship to Judaism there is little research exclusively devoted to his views, use of, and allusions to the Hebrew Bible. In this article concerned with reception history, the author seeks to provide an introduction to the topic by looking at Nietzsche’s general assessment of the Hebrew Bible, his understanding of the history of Israelite religion and his allusions to a number of biblical texts. Based on these observations it is argued that though of relatively marginal concern overall, the Hebrew Bible played a definite albeit varied and complex role in Nietzsche’s philosophy of religion .

2 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: It is argued that kol similarly exhibits the properties of an operator and how the various uses of kol should be translated into English and Afrikaans is described.
Abstract: Traditional accounts of the quantifier kol in Biblical Hebrew do not describe or explain its status, syntactic distribution or scope adequately. Current research within both formal and functional approaches to universal quantifiers is of interest to Biblical Hebrew grammar. Both approaches use formal representations to describe quantifiers. These representations exhibit some of the properties commonly associated with the representations of standard logical systems, namely, the fact that an operator is associated with (or operates across) a scope / domain / range. In this paper it is argued that kol similarly exhibits the properties of an operator. Definiteness and number mark the scope of kol. Depending on the scope of kol, it can be interpreted or translated as an all or each type quantifier in English. The aim of the paper is to describe where a certain interpretation of kol should be expected and how the various uses of kol should be translated into English and Afrikaans.

2 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: This paper argued that the lack of attention to form and sound in Bible translation is a sign of a lack of sensitivity to Hebrew as a system of communication, and proposed an approach to teaching Biblical Hebrew to ensure the development of a linguistic sensitivity to these fundamentals.
Abstract: Language may be described as a system of communication of which form, sound and meaning are three fundamental features. However, Biblical Hebrew is apparently still taught in many centres (at least in South Africa) with a minimum use of sound and the sort of attention paid to morphological minutiae that does not do justice to Hebrew as a system of communication. In the practical arena of scholarship, objections have been levelled at the lack of attention to form and sound in Bible translation (Everett Fox) and to the lack of attention to form at sentence level (i.e., syntax) in understanding Hebrew narrative (Robert Longacre). In the light of this unsatisfactory situation, it seems necessary to change the approach to teaching Biblical Hebrew and to ensure the development of a linguistic sensitivity to these fundamentals. To demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed approach, Phyllis Trible's treatment of the story of Jephthah and his daughter is examined.

2 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, a text-critical analysis of LXX Lamentations 4:7 and 4:14 is presented to understand how the translator dealt with the difficult Hebrew readings in these two verses.
Abstract: This article attempts to gain a better understanding of the wording of LXX Lamentations 4:7 and 4:14 by means of text-critical analyses. The Hebrew wordings of these two verses are fraught with textual problems and the analyses focus on how some of the difficult readings were rendered into Greek. LXX Lamentations 4:7 and 4:14 are therefore examined so as to establish how the translator dealt with the difficult Hebrew readings in these verses. The article concludes with the suggestion that a text-critical approach, which treats the ancient translations as witnesses to the content of an Old Testament book and analyses the ways in which readings were created during the process of translation, can contribute to a greater understanding of the wordings of the ancient translations.

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors focus on the additions to Chapter 42 of the Bible and argue that there are indeed two sets of additions, i.e., the diatribe of Job's wife in 2:9a-d and 42:17a-e.
Abstract: Traditionally the Septuagint (Old Greek) of Job is deemed an abbreviated text. However, the description "shortened text" does not apply consistently to the Greek version of Job. Even though the text as a whole gives evidence of conscious shortening, there are various prominent additions. The major ones are the diatribe of Job's wife in 2:9a-d and 42:17a-e. This paper will focus on the additions to Chapter 42. It argues that there are indeed two sets of additions. On the one hand 17a includes a reference to the resurrection and should not be deemed as the Old Greek. On the other hand, b-e could have been added by the translator.

Book ChapterDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that the inherent character of the Dead Sea scrolls necessitates fundamental issues of hermeneutics to be considered as part and parcel of their impact on biblical studies within the traditional disciplines of Judaic and Old Testament scholarship.
Abstract: The Dead Sea scrolls have a context, which is to be understood if their contents are to be understood. But the very nature of this context also generates further contexts within which the disciplines working with the Bible have to read both the Dead Sea scrolls and the Bible. It is argued that by virtue of this context the Dead Sea scrolls have opened up horizons for contemporary biblical studies that require reflection on issues beyond textual criticism and religious history. Using the concept of intertextuality, I argue that the inherent character of the Dead Sea scrolls necessitates fundamental issues of hermeneutics to be considered as part and parcel of their impact on biblical studies within the traditional disciplines of Judaic and Old Testament scholarship. In this regard matters of creativity, inventiveness and originality are highlighted as much as the traditionally emphasised questions of reconstruction and historical credibility.

Journal Article
TL;DR: The interpretation of the words gisellag and giseke4/ke-ma in the Sumerian versions and their equivalents, the pukku and mekku in the Akkadian versions form the focus of this discussion as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The article deals with the nature of the so-called "Oppression of Uruk" in the Gilgamesh versions. The interpretation of the words gisellag and giseke4/ke-ma in the Sumerian versions and their equivalents, the pukku and mekku in the Akkadian versions form the focus of this discussion. Although scholars currently agree that the general meaning is to be found in some type of sporting or games context, it has never been considered as part of the board game scenario, which seems most probable. This discussion connects the gisellag/pukku with a "game board" and gise-ke4-ma/mekku with "gaming/games pieces". Although the iconographic evidence has been discussed previously in relation to the mother/fertility goddess, the textual evidence will form the core of this article, given the scenario that Inanna and Istar have been generally connected with playing contexts previously.

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the role of the Spirit of Yahweh in the book of Judges is studied and a literary-theological approach is used as a way of hearing the stories of the four judges who are empowered by the Spirit.
Abstract: This study of the role of the Spirit of Yahweh in the book of Judges utilizes a literary-theological approach as a way of hearing the stories of the four judges who are empowered by the Spirit It is argued here that the Spirit of Yahweh in Judges functions primarily as the dynamic presence of Yahweh that compels and empowers the judges to effectuate Yahweh's salvation of his covenant people, and that each of the stories presents a unique perspective on the role of the Spirit

Journal Article
TL;DR: The suggested software tool acts as a “code shuttle” (a programme that moves data to and from two different storage structures) with added elementary database functionalities.
Abstract: The article focuses on the conversion of linguistic data between an XML data cube and a three-dimensional array structure in Visual Basic 6 in order to eventually facilitate data access and manipulation. After a short consideration of the structures of the VB6 and XML databanks, conversion between the two is discussed (“round-tripping”), as well as essential database functions (create, read, update and delete) that may be performed on the linguistic data cube. The suggested software tool, therefore, acts as a “code shuttle” (a programme that moves data to and from two different storage structures) with added elementary database functionalities. Linguistic data from the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1-2:3 is used to demonstrate the data operations.

Journal Article
TL;DR: P967 has had an important effect on the study of the Greek Ezekiel and the relationship of the original Greek to the Masoretic text as discussed by the authors, and the question to be answered in this paper is whether the original original Greek as reconstructed by Ziegler (2006) must be adapted as a result of readings of this papyrus.
Abstract: P967 has had an important effect on the study of the Greek Ezekiel and the relationship of the original Greek to the Masoretic text. This papyrus is often seen as representing the original Greek, together with the Codex Vaticanus. The question to be answered in this paper is whether the original Greek as reconstructed by Ziegler (2006) must be adapted as a result of readings of this papyrus. A second question is whether the parallel passages in Ezekiel 18 have affected the transmission of this passage in the Septuagint. This study has indicated a number of cases where the reading of the original Greek can be reconstructed differently from Ziegler's work. In other instances, the reading of Papyrus 967 frequently supports the choice made by Ziegler on account of B and some other witnesses.