Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

Get access Subject: Language And Linguistics
Edited by: Geoffrey Khan
Associate editors: Shmuel Bolozky, Steven Fassberg, Gary A. Rendsburg, Aaron D. Rubin, Ora R. Schwarzwald, Tamar Zewi

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The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Online offers a systematic and comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the history and study of the Hebrew language from its earliest attested form to the present day.
The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Online features advanced search options, as well as extensive cross-references and full-text search functionality using the Hebrew character set. With over 850 entries and approximately 400 contributing scholars, the Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Online is the authoritative reference work for students and researchers in the fields of Hebrew linguistics, general linguistics, Biblical studies, Hebrew and Jewish literature, and related fields.

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Hasidic Hebrew

(2,309 words)

Author(s): Kahn, Lily
Hasidic Hebrew is a literary form of Hebrew that was employed in Eastern Europe from the late eighteenth century until the early twentieth century in the composition of tales and parables by or about Hasidic spiritual leaders. Hasidism is a Jewish spiritual movement, emphasizing mysticism and centered on a charismatic leader, which emerged in late 18th-century Eastern Europe and still flourishes throughout the Jewish world. Hasidic Hebrew is one of the only sources of narrative Hebrew composed b…


(4,220 words)

Author(s): Loewenthal, Naftali
Hasidism, the spiritual revivalist movement that began in 18th-century Eastern Europe, drew on earlier kabbalistic perspectives for its conceptions of language. In particular, since Genesis describes divine ‘speech’ as the origin of creation, language as a tool of the divine creative process features in the ancient ספר יצירה s ep̄er yeṣira ‘The Book of Creation’. This opens by depicting “Thirty two wondrous paths of wisdom”, comprising the ten ספירות sep̄irot ‘divine attributes’ and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The Kabbala, in general, sought to…

Hebraisms in Arabic Versions of the Hebrew Bible

(2,959 words)

Author(s): Vollandt, Ronny
Hebraisms in Arabic versions of the Bible result from the interference of the Hebrew source text in the translational language. They consist of a transfer of characteristic linguistic features from the source language to that of the target language, in which they are, by definition, unidiomatic, alien, or artificial. Manifestations of this interference can be seen in the fields of syntax, lexicon, and morphology. Given the relative closeness of the two languages, they occur abundantly and play a…

Hebraisms in English Versions of the Bible

(2,022 words)

Author(s): Raffaele Esposito
A Hebraism is a linguistic element borrowed from Hebrew by another language. In addition to loanwords (such as shekel, cherub, and ­Sabbath; → English, Hebrew Loanwords in), Hebraisms include semantic loans, phrases, and language traits such as peculiar syntactical forms, rhetorical devices, and imagery. Many Hebraisms entered the English language through Bible translations, even from languages other than Hebrew. Most significantly, since the the earliest English translations were renderings of the Latin Vulgate (an…

Hebraisms in Judeo-Persian Bible Translations and Exegetical Texts

(448 words)

Author(s): Gindin, Thamar E.
Jewish Bible translations traditionally employ numerous calques, and Hebrew calques also exist in the exegetical parts of the medieval tafsīrs. These include the 226-page tafsīr of Ezekiel (TE; Salemann 1900; Gindin 2000; 2003; 2007; forthcoming), and the fifty-page tafsīr of Genesis (Shaked 2003), which are the longest surviving Early Judeo-Persian (EJP) texts. The exegetes were naturally influenced by the slavishly imitative syntax of Bible translations. EJP exegetes occasionally use the present participle with a copula instead of a simple present, e.g., אגר אניז לוגת אישא…

Hebraisms in Spanish and Ladino Versions of the Hebrew Bible

(2,601 words)

Author(s): Quintana, Aldina
The oral character of Bible translation among Spanish Jews and the didactic purpose of these translations resulted in a style dominated by the principle of syntagmatic literalism, that is, hispanizing of all words of the Hebrew source, while attempting to maintain Hebrew syntax, morphology, and meaning. Bible translations from Hebrew into Spanish-Romance ( biblias romanceadas) are divided into two groups: Judeo-Christian versions ( biblias judeocristianas) and Jewish versions ( biblias judías) (Llamas 1950). 1. Judeo-Christian Versions Ten of the fourteen surviving tran…

Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon

(763 words)

Author(s): Tvedtnes, John A.
Adherents of the Church of Latter Day Saints believe that the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830 by Joseph Smith, is an English translation of an ancient revealed scripture, apparently written in Hebrew. The Book of Mormon, accordingly, is replete with Hebraisms, that is, reflections of Hebrew idioms or words, which do not suit the translation language, but which are perfectly normal in Biblical Hebrew. Among the Biblical Hebrew features found in the Book of Mormon are the following: Construct state: ‘plates of brass’ instead of ‘brass plates’; ‘works of righteousness’ …

Hebraisms in the Greek Versions of the Hebrew Bible

(1,542 words)

Author(s): Joosten, Jan
Hebraisms are linguistic features in another language that are in some way unusual due to the influence of Hebrew. In the ancient Greek versions of the Hebrew Bible (Septuagint, Theodotion, and Aquila), Hebraisms are due almost exclusively to the process of translation. While interlingual translation always leads to a certain amount of transfer from the source language to the target language, several circumstances caused this transfer to be particularly strong in the case of the Septuagint. Firstly, the earliest translators of the Hebre…

Hebraisms in the Latin Versions of the Bible

(2,933 words)

Author(s): Kraus, Matthew
Latin versions of the Bible began appearing in the 2nd century C.E. Often called the Old Latin (also Vetus Latina or Vetus Itala), these versions were translated from the Greek Septuagint. At the end of the 4th century C.E., Jerome produced a translation of Scriptures directly from the Hebrew, commonly known as the Vulgate. Hebraisms refer to those words and phrases in these Latin biblical translations that reflect Hebrew morphology, semantics, or syntax alien to the Latin language. Hebraisms range from comprehensibl…

Hebraisms in the New Testament

(2,521 words)

Author(s): Bivin, David N.
A ‘Hebraism’ is a typical feature of the Hebrew language found in another language. In this article, the term is used to refer to a Hebrew feature found in the Greek of the New Testament (NT). The majority of today’s NT authorities assume that Aramaic lies behind the Semitisms of the NT, and that Jesus spoke Aramaic as his primary language. This is so much so, in fact, that the student who consults standard reference works is informed that the Greek words for ‘Hebrew’ and for ‘in the Hebrew language’ (not only in the NT, but in Jo…

Hebraisms in the Targumim

(1,918 words)

Author(s): Cook, Edward M.
Targumim (singular targum) refers to translations of the Hebrew Bible into Jewish Aramaic. Although the earliest extant Aramaic Bible translations, found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, date from the 1st century B.C.E., the targumim as referred to here date from the post-Second Temple period and represent the viewpoint of Rabbinic Judaism. The most important targumim are: Targum Onqelos to the Pentateuch and Targum Jonathan to the Prophets, both written in a literary form of Jewish Aramaic, probably originating in Palestine in the first few centuries C.E., but …


(2,232 words)

Author(s): Mizrahi, Noam
Hekhalot literature is the name given to a group of texts which constitute the earliest known products of ancient Jewish mysticism. The texts cover a wide range of themes, such as magic, cosmology and liturgy, but their conceptual core has traditionally been taken to be Merkavah mysticism, i.e., the idea that the ultimate aim of the mystical experience is to enter the celestial palaces (היכלות heḵalot) and view God sitting on His throne. Following Ezekiel’s vision, the divine throne is depicted as a chariot (מרכבה merkaḇa). The mystical experience is essentially perceived as ascension t…