The Hebrew language may be divided into the Biblical, Mishnaic, Medieval, and Modern periods. Biblical Hebrew has its own distinct linguistic profile, exhibiting a diversity of styles and linguistic traditions that extends over 1,000 years. It includes tangible diachronic developments, which may serve as chronological milestones in tracing the linguistic history of biblical Hebrew.
Unlike standard dictionaries, whose scope and extent are dictated by the contents of the biblical concordance, this lexicon includes only 80 lexical entries. Each entry was chosen specifically for a diachronic investigation of late biblical Hebrew, illustrating the fifth-century watershed that separated Classical Hebrew from post-Classical biblical Hebrew. The emphasis is placed on linguistic contrasts, illuminating a rich collection of examples that contrasts Classical biblical Hebrew with late biblical Hebrew, biblical Hebrew with rabbinic Hebrew, and Hebrew with Aramaic.
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Provided that there are those readers out there who sympathize with diachronic approaches to Hebrew (indeed there are many) and those who are concerned with semantic change rather than the kind of information that lexica typically have on offer (there are some), Hurvitz’s lexicon will undoubtedly be a milestone for the research of Late Biblical Hebrew in the years to come.
—Kurtis Peters, PhD candidate, Edinburgh University
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