HEBREWLANGUAGE provinces of the Persian
See also:empire Aramaic was the official language, spoken not only in
See also:Palestine but in all the surrounding countries, even in
See also:Egypt and among Arab tribes such as the Nabateans . It is natural, therefore, that it should influence and finally supplant Hebrew in popular use, so that
See also:translations even of the Old Testament eventually appear in it (TARGUMS) . Mean-while Hebrew did not become a dead language—indeed it can hardly be said ever to have died, since it has continued in use till the
See also:day for the purposes of ordinary
See also:life among educated Jews in all parts of the
See also:world . It gradually became a
See also:literary rather than a popular
See also:tongue, as appears from the
See also:style of the later books of the Old Testament (Chron.,
See also:Eccles.), and from the Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus (c . 170 B.e:) . During the 1st century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. we have no
See also:direct evidence of its characteristics . After that
See also:period there is a
See also:great development in the language of the Mishna . It was still living Hebrew, although mainly confined to the
See also:schools, with very clear differences from the biblical language . In the Old Testament the range of subjects was limited . In the Mishna it was very much extended . Matters
See also:relating to daily life had to be discussed, and words and phrases were adopted from what was no doubt the popular language of an earlier period . A great many
See also:foreign words were also introduced .
The language being no longer
See also:familiar in the same sense as formerly, greater definiteness of expression became necessary in the written style . In
See also:order to avoid the uncertainty arising from the lack of vowels to distinguish forms consisting of the same consonants (for the vowel-points were not yet invented), the aramaising use of the reflexive conjugations (Hithpa'el, Nithpa`el) for the
See also:internal passives (Pu'al, Hoph'al) became
See also:common; particles were used to
See also:express the genitive and other relations, and in general there was an endeavour to avoid the obscurities of a purely consonantal writing . What is practically Mishnic Hebrew continued to be used in
See also:Midrash for some centuries . The language of both Talmuds, which, roughly speaking, were growing contemporaneously with Midrash, is a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic (Eastern
See also:Aram. in the Babylonian, Western in the Jerusalem
See also:Talmud), as was also that of the earlier commentators . As the popular use of Aramaic was gradually restricted by the spread of Arabic as the vernacular (from the 7th century onwards), while the dispersion of the Jews became wider, biblical Hebrew again came to be the natural standard both of East and West . The cultivation of it is shown and was no doubt promoted by the many philological
See also:works (grammars, lexicons and masorah) which are extant from the loth century onward . In Spain, under Moorish dominion, most of the important works of that period were composed in Arabic, and the influence of Arabic writers both on language and method may be seen in contemporaneous Hebrew compositions . No other vernacular (except, of course, Aramaic) ever had the same influence upon Hebrew, largely because no other bears so close a relation to it . At the present day in the East, and among learned Jews else-where, Hebrew is still cultivated conversationally, and it is widely used for literary purposes . Numerous works on all kinds of subjects are produced in various countries,
See also:periodicals flourish, and Hebrew is the vehicle of
See also:correspondence between Jews in all parts of the world . Naturally its quality varies with the ability and
See also:education of the writer . In the
See also:modern pronunciation the
See also:principal differences are between the Ashkenazim (German and
See also:Polish Jews) and the Sephardim (
See also:Spanish and Portuguese Jews), and concern not only the vowels but also certain consonants, and in some cases probably go back to early times .
A regards writing, it is most likely that the
See also:oldest Hebrew records were preserved in some
See also:form of cuneiform script . The
See also:alphabet (see WRITING) subsequently adopted is seen in its earliest form on the
See also:stele of Mesha, and has been retained, with modifications, by the
See also:Samaritans . According to Jewish tradition
See also:Ezra in- troduced the
See also:Assyrian character ('~~vx =n2) a much-debated statement which no doubt means that the Aramaic
See also:hand in use in Babylonia was adopted by the Jews about the 5th century B.C . Another form of the same hand, allowing for differences of material, is found in
See also:Egyptian Aramaic papyri of the .5th and 4th that 'ibhri means the man " from the other side," i.e. either of the
See also:Euphrates or the
See also:Jordan . Hence the Septuagint in Gen!. xiv . 13 render Abram ha-'ibhri by o irepbsrgs, the " crosser," and Aquila, following the same tradition, has b irepal:7ns, the man " from beyond." This view of course implies that the
See also:term was originally applied to Abram or his descendants by a
See also:people living on the west of the Euphrates or of the Jordan . It has been suggested that the
See also:root 'abhar is to be taken in the sense of " travelling," and that Abram the wandering Aramaean (Deut.
See also:xxvi . 5) was called ha-'ibhri because he travelled about for trading purposes, his language, 'ibhri, being the lingua franca of Eastern
See also:trade . The use of the term 43pa'ivri for biblical Hebrew is first found in the Greek prologue to Ecclesiasticus (c . 130 B.C.) . In the New Testament it denotes the native language of Palestine (Aramaic and Hebrew being popularly confused) as opposed to Greek . In modern usage the name Hebrew is applied to that branch of the
See also:part of the Semitic
See also:family of
See also:languages which was used by the Israelites during most of the
See also:time of their
See also:national existence in Palestine, and in which nearly all their sacred writings are composed .
As to its characteristics and relation to other languages of the same stock, see SEMITIC LANGUAGES . It also includes the later forms of the same language as used by Jewish writers after the close of the
See also:Canon throughout the
See also:middle ages (Rabbinical Hebrew) and to the present day (New Hebrew) . Before the rise of
See also:philology it was a popular opinion that Hebrew was the
See also:original speech of mankind, from which all others were descended . This belief, derived from the Jews (cf .
See also:Pal . Targ . Gen. xi . 1), was supported by the etymologies and other data supplied by the early chapters of
See also:Genesis . But though Hebrew possesses a very old literature, it is not, as we know it, structurally as early as, e.g . Arabic, or, in other words, it does not come so near to that
See also:primitive Semitic speech which may be pre-supposed as the common
See also:parent of all the Semitic languages . Owing to the imperfection of the Hebrew alphabet, which, like that of most Semitic languages, has no means of expressing vowel-sounds, it is only partly possible to trace the development of the language . In its earliest form it was no doubt most closely allied to the Canaanite or Phoenician stock, to the language of
See also:Moab, as revealed by the stele of Mesha (c .
850 B.C.), and to Edomite . The vocalization of Canaanite, as far as it is known to us, e.g. from glosses in the Tell-el-Amarna tablets (15th century . B.C.)r and much later from the Punic passages in the Poenulus ofPlautus, differs in many respects from that of the Hebrew of the Old Testament, as also does the Septuagint transcription of proper names . The uniformity, however, of the Old Testament text is due to the labours of successive schools of grammarians who elaborated the Massorah (see HEBREW LITERATURE), thereby obliterating
See also:local or
See also:dialectic differences, which undoubtedly existed, and establishing the pronunciation current in the synagogues about the 7th century A.D . The only mention of such differences in the Old Testament is in
See also:judges xii . 6, where it is stated that the Ephraimites pronounced (sh) as iu or o (s) . In Neh. xiii . 24, the "speech of Ashdod " is more probably a distinct (
See also:Philistine) language . Certain peculiarities in the language of the
See also:Pentateuch .( nr, for ran, sr; for ,-ii ), which used to be regarded as archaisms, are to be explained as purely orthographical.2 In a series of writings, however, extending over so long a period as those of the Old Testament, some variation or development in language is to be expected apart from the natural differences between the poetic (or prophetic) and
See also:prose styles . The consonantal text sometimes betrays these in spite of the Massorah . In general, the later books of the Old Testament show, roughly speaking, a greater simplicity and uniformity of style, as well as a tendency to Aramaisms . For some centuries after the
See also:Exile, the people of Palestine must have been bilingual, speaking Aramaic for ordinary purposes, but still at least understanding Hebrew .
Not that they forgot their own tongue in the Captivity and learnt Aramaic in
See also:Babylon, as used to be supposed . In the western 1 See Zimmern, in Ztsch. fur Assyriol . (1891), p . 154 . 2 Sec Gcsenius-Kautzsch, flebr .
See also:Gram . § 17 C . centuries B.C . From this were
See also:developed (a) the square character used in
See also:MSS. of the Bible or important texts, and in most printed books, (b) the Rabbinic(or
See also:Rashi) character, used in commentaries and
See also:treatises of all kinds, both in MS. and in printed books, (c) the Cursive character, used in letters and for informal purposes, not as a
See also:rule printed . In the present state of Hebrew palaeography it is not possible to determine accurately the date of a MS., but it is easy to recognize the
See also:country in which it was written . The most clearly marked distinctions are between Spanish, French, German,
See also:Italian, Maghrebi, Greek, Syrian (including Egyptian), Yemenite, Persian and Qaraite hands . It is in the Rabbinic and Cursive characters that the differences are most noticeable .
The Hebrew alphabet is also used, generally with the addition of some diacritical marks, by Jews to write other languages, chiefly Arabic, Spanish, Persian, Greek, Tatar (by
See also:Qaraites) and in later times German . The philological study of Hebrew among the Jews is described below, under Hebrew Literature, of which it formed an integral part . Among Christian scholars there was no
See also:independent school of Hebraists before the revival of learning . In the Greek and Latin
See also:Church the few fathers who, like
See also:Origen and
See also:Jerome, knew something of the language, were wholly dependent on their Jewish teachers, and their chief value for us is as depositaries of Jewish tradition . Similarly in the East, the
See also:Syriac version of the Old Testament is largely under the influence of the synagogue, and the homilies of Aphraates are a mine of Rabbinic lore . In the middle ages some knowledge of Hebrew was pre-served in the Church by converted Jews and even by non-Jewish scholars, of whom the most notable were the Dominican controversialist Raymundus Martini (in his Pugio fidei) and the Franciscan Nicolaus of
See also:Lyra, on whom
See also:Luther drew largely in his
See also:interpretation of Scripture . But there was no tradition of Hebrew study apart from the Jews, and in the 15th century when an
See also:interest in the subject was awakened, only the most ardent zeal could conquer the obstacles that
See also:lay in the way . Orthodox Jews refused to teach those who were not of their faith, and on the other hand many churchmen conscientiously believed in the
See also:duty of entirely suppressing Jewish learning . Even books were to be had only with the greatest difficulty, at least
See also:north of the
See also:Alps . In Italy things were somewhat better . Jews expelled from Spain received favour from the popes . Study was facilitated by the use of the printing-
See also:press, and some of the earliest books printed were in Hebrew .
See also:father, of Hebrew study among Christians was the humanist Johann
See also:Reuchlin (1455-1522), the author of the Rudimenta Hebraica (
See also:Pforzheim, 15o6), whose contest with the converted
See also:Jew Pfefferkorn and the Cologne obscurantists, established the claim of the new study to recognition by the Church . Interest in the subject spread rapidly . Among Reuchlin's own pupils were
See also:Oecolampadius and Cellarius, while Sebastian Munster in
See also:Heidelberg (afterwards
See also:professor at
See also:Basel), and Buchlein (Fagius) at Isny, Strasburg and Cambridge, were pupils of the liberal Jewish
See also:Elias Levita . France drew teachers from Italy . Santes Pagninus of Lucca was at
See also:Lyons; and the trilingual
See also:college of
See also:Francis I. at
See also:Paris, with Vaiablus and le Mercier, attracted, among other foreigners,
See also:bishop of Nebbio, the editor of the Genoa psalter of 516 . In Rome the converted Jew Felix Pratensis taught under the patronage of
See also:Leo X., and did useful
See also:work in connexion with the great
See also:Bomberg Bibles . In Spain Hebrew learning was promoted by
See also:Cardinal Ximenes, the
See also:patron of the Cornplutensian Polyglot, The printers, as J . Froben at Basel and Etienne at Paris, also produced Hebrew books . For a time Christian scholars still leaned mainly on the Rabbis . But a more independent spirit soon arose, of which le Mercier in the 16th, and Drusius early in the 17th century, may be taken as representatives . In the 17th century too the cognate languages were studied by J .
See also:Selden, E .
See also:Castell (Heptaglott
See also:lexicon) and E .
See also:Pococke (Arabic) in England, Ludovicus de Dieu in
See also:Holland; S .
See also:Bochart in France, J . Ludolf (Ethiopic) and J . H . Hottinger (Syriac) in Germany, with
See also:advantage to the Hebrew grammar and lexicon . Rabbinic learning moreover was cultivated at Basel by the elder Buxtorf who was the author of grammatical works and a lexicon . With the rise of
See also:criticism Hebrew philology soon became a necessary department of
See also:theology . Cappellus (d . 1658) followed Levita in maintaining, against Buxtorf, the
See also:late introduction of the vowel-points, a controversy in which the authority of the massoretic text was concerned . He was supported by J . Morin and R .
See also:Simon in France . In the 18th century in Holland A .
See also:Schultens and N . W . Schroeder used the comparative method, with great success, relying mainly on Arabic . In Germany there was the meritorious J . D .
See also:Michaelis and in France the brilliant S. de Sacy . In the 19th century the greatest name among Hebraists is that of Gesenius, at
See also:Halle, whose shorter grammar (of Biblical Hebrew) first. published in 1813, is still the standard work, thanks to the ability with which his
See also:pupil E . RSdiger and recently E . Kautzsch have revised and enlarged it . Important work was also done by G .
H . A .Ewald, J .
See also:Olshausen and P . A. de
See also:Lagarde, not to mention later scholars who have utilized the valuable results of Assyriological
See also:research . Grammars,
See also:Introductory.—Davidson, IntroductoryHebrewGramma r (9th ed.,
See also:Edinburgh, 1888) ; and Syntax (Edinburgh, 1894) . Advanced: Gesenitis's Hebraische Grammatik, ed . Kautzsch (28th ed.,
See also:Leipzig, 1909; Eng. trans.,
See also:Oxford, 191o); also
See also:Treatise on the Use of the Tenses in Hebrew (3rd ed., Oxford, 1892) . For
See also:post-biblical Hebrew, Strack and Siegfried, Lehrbuch d. neulzebriiischen Sprache (Leipzig, 1884) . Comparative Grammar.—Wright, Lectures on the Comp . Grammar of the Seta . Lang .
(Cambridge, 189o) ; Brockelmann, Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik (Berlin, 1907, &c.) . Lexicons.—Gesenius's
See also:Thesaurus philologicus(Leipzig, 1829-1858), and his Hebraisches Handwbrterbuch (15th ed. by Zimmern and Buhl, Leipzig, 191o) ;
See also:Brown, Briggs and Driver, Hebrew and Eng . Lexicon (Oxford, 1892-1906) . For later Hebrew:
See also:Levy, Neuhebraisches Worterbuch (Leipzig, 1876-1889) ; Jastrow,
See also:Dictionary of the Targumi, &c . (NewYork, 1886, &c.) ; Dalman, Aramaisches neuhebraisches Worterbuch (
See also:Frankfort a . M., 1897); Kohut, Aruch completum (Vienna, 1878-189o) (in Hebrew) is valuable for the language of the Talmud . (A .
JACQUES RENE HEBERT (1757-1794)
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