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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


OSBORNE, William R.. A linguistic introduction to the origins and characteristics of early Mishnaic Hebrew as it relates to Biblical Hebrew. Old testam. essays [online]. 2011, vol.24, n.1, pp.159-172. ISSN 2312-3621.

Scholarship has failed to clearly establish the linguistic relationship between Mishnaic Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew. This article serves as an introduction to the problem by: (1) discussing the diachronic development of Mishnaic Hebrew, (2) providing a synchronic linguistic analysis of Mishnaic Hebrew in relation to Biblical Hebrew, and (3) offering direction for future research. The discussion highlights the proposal that Mishnaic Hebrew developed alongside Biblical Hebrew as a popular oral language that was later significantly influenced by Aramaic. The present study shows the non-systematic relationship between Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew, and therefore concludes that students of Biblical Hebrew must exercise caution in looking to Mishnaic Hebrew to interpret the Old Testament.

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