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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


Biblical & Rabbinic Hebrew: New Perspectives in Philology & Linguistics

7th-11th July 2019

The conference, to be held at the University of Cambridge, will primarily focus on Hebrew-language study. Special care has been taken to ensure a unique integration on two key levels. First, is the integration of Biblical Hebrew and Rabbinic Hebrew language research, with the intention of collaboration between the two fields Second, is the integration of the younger generation of scholars with their more established counterparts. This will be reflected in the structure of the conference, in which after each invited speaker has given a talk, graduate and post-graduate students are then allotted a short time-slot to introduce their research. The conference will feature new research in the areas of Textual Transmission, Scribal Traditions, Syntax, Discourse studies, Verbs, Hebrew in its larger Semitic Context, and the Hebrew Grammatical Tradition. An important complement to the conference will be the publication of the volume Semitic Languages and Cultures, published by the University of Cambridge and Open Book Publishers, in which the senior scholars will be invited to contribute full detailed versions of their papers. Please find a list of the invited speakers along with the title of their talks below. Finally, this conference would not be possible without the generous partnership of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, and the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Invited Speakers

  • Helene Dallaire (Denver Seminary): Atypical Negative Volitives: Scribal Errors or Scribal Convention? 
  • Aaron Koller (Yeshiva University): The Real Revolution of the Alphabet, and Linguistic Implications for Scribal Training in Ancient Israel
  • Chanan Ariel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): The Light Ga'ya Role in Preserving Gutteral Consonants in the Tiberian Tradition
  • Geoffrey Khan (University of Cambridge):  A Comparison Between the Syllable Structure of the Tiberian and Babylonian Traditions of Biblical Hebrew
  • Kim Phillips (University of Cambridge): TBC
  • Robert Holmstedt (University of Toronto): Investigating Backwards Anaphora (a.k.a. Cataphora) in Biblical Hebrew
  • Cynthia Miller-Naude and Jacobus Naude (Joint Presentation; University of the Free State): Differentiating Left Dislocations in Biblical Hebrew
  • Nadia Vidro (University of Cambridge): Rules without Exceptions: A Medieval Karaite Approach to the Logic of the Hebrew Verbal System
  • Yoni Wormser: Attitudes Towards Rabbinic Hebrew As Reflected in Early-Modern Grammars
  • Ben Kantor (University of Cambridge): TBC
  • Christo Van der Merwe (Stllenbosch University): Biblical Hebrew and Cognitive Linguistics: A Critical Assessment
  • Uri Mor (Ben Gurion University of the Negev): The Language of Sifre Zuta on Numbers in Geniza Fragments
  • Gary Rendsburg (Rutgers University): Israelian Hebrew in the Book of Amos
  • Rivka Shemesh-Raiskin (Bar-Ilan University): A Fortiori (qal vaxomer) Arguments in Halachic Give-and-Take Conversations in the Mishnah and Tosefta
  • Ellen van Wolde (Radboud University Nijmegen): Verbs in Niphal and Their Contribution to Meaning in the Book of Genesis
  • Outi Bat-El (Tel-Aviv University): Broken Segholates
  • Steven Fassberg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): III-y Imperatives in Ancient Hebrew
  • John Cook (Asbury Theological Seminary/University of the Free State): Explorations in Hebrew Verbal Valency
  • Rebecca Hasselbach (University of Chicago) Tense and Aspect in Hebrew: The Ramifications of 'Marginal' Structures on the Interpretation of the System as a Whole
  • Aaron Hornkohl (University of Cambridge): A Tense Question: Does Hebrew Have a Future?
  • Judith Henshke (University of Haifa): The Contribution of Defective Spelling to the Rabbinic Lexicon and Morphology
  • Shai Heijmans (University of Cambridge): On the Form of Three Rabbinic Hebrew Lexemes
  • Noam Mizrahi (Tel-Aviv University): Reading and Interpreting Biblical Hebrew in the Late Second Temple Period: The Case of 1QpHab
  • Tania Notarius (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Archaic Lexicon in Biblical Hebrew and the Phenomena of Linguistic Convergence: A Case for šēḇɛṭ sōpēr (Judges 5:14)
  • Na'ama Pat-El (University of Texas): Comprative Semitic and the Hebrew Plural Morphemes
  • Lutz Edward (University of Oslo): The Coordination of Finite Verb Forms and Infinitives in Biblical Hebrew in a Comparative Semitic and a Typological Perspective
  • Bo Isaksson (Uppsala University): The Biblical Hebrew Perfective yVqtVl and its Semitic Background. Some Methodological Reflections
  • Nora Boneh (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Verb Clusters Featuring ba 'come' in the History of Hebrew
  • Jan Joosten (University of Oxford): The Use of the Long Form of the Prefix Conjugation in Volitive Clauses in Biblical Hebrew
  • Ambjorn Sjors (Uppsala University): Aspects of the Pseudo-Cohortative in Late Biblical Hebrew
  • Ben Outhwaite (University of Cambridge): TBC
  • Susan Rothstein (Bar-Ilan University): Constructs and expressions of Ordinality
  • Matthew Anstey (Alphacrucis College): An Analysis of the So-Called 'Accusative of Specification' in Biblical Hebrew
  • Ivri Bunis (University of Cambridge): The Linguistic Status of Palestinian Amoraic Hebrew: A Morphosyntactic Perspective
  • Jim Aitken (University of Cambridge): Defining the Indefinable: lēv and nefeš in Recent Lexicography
  • Adina Moshavi (Bar-Ilan University): Ellipsis in Answers to Questions in Biblical Hebrew

Helpful Links

  • If you would like to attend one or more days of the conference, please purchase day passes here