Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum, Volume 4

De Gruyter announces the publication of Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum, Volume 4, a very helpful resource.


Noah Hacham, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Tal Ilan, Free University of Berlin.


The edition collects and presents all papyri and ostraca from the Ptolemaic period, connected to Jews and Judaism, published since 1957. It is a follow-up to the Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum (= CPJ) of the 1950s and 60s, edited by Victor Tcherikover, which had consisted of three volumes – I devoted to the Ptolemaic period; II to the Early Roman period (until 117 CE); and III to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods. The present book, CPJ vol. IV, is the first in a new trilogy, and is devoted to the Ptolemaic period.
The present and upcoming volumes supplement the original CPJ. They present over 300 papyri that have been published since 1957. They also include papyri in languages other than Greek (Hebrew, Aramaic, Demotic), and literary papyri which had not been included in the old CPJ. Aside from quite a number of papyri in these categories, the present volume (of over 100 documents) includes 21 papyri from Herakleopolis in Middle-Egypt that record the existence of a Jewish self-ruling body – the politeuma. These papyri put an end to a long-standing dispute over whether such a Jewish institution had ever existed in Egypt.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Life and Courage of Paul Kahle

Gary Rendsburg points out a fitting eulogy for the famous Semiticist Paul Kahle by Lea Goldberg, entitled On a Man’s Greatness. I did not know the history of Kahle's resistance to the Nazi regime, and it was a great encouragement to see how one person of courage can make a difference. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Winston - How Much Is an Unkosher Torah Worth?

Hella Winston writes an interesting investigative article entitled How Much Is an Unkosher Torah Worth?, looking into the market for old Torah scrolls no longer fit for ritual usage.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Elisha Qimron's "The Qumran Texts: Composite Edition"

Elisha Qimron has uploaded his three-volume The Qumran Texts: Composite Edition on Zenodo. Qimron has done much important work on giving his own readings of these texts, and this is no doubt a valuable contribution.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Free Hebrew Linguistic Resources

In the recent Genizah newsletter, Nick Posegay highlights two important open-access works just published by Geoffrey Khan, which are worth downloading and checking out:

The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew, Volume 1

The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew, Volume 2


The form of Biblical Hebrew that is presented in printed editions, with vocalization and accent signs, has its origin in medieval manuscripts of the Bible. The vocalization and accent signs are notation systems that were created in Tiberias in the early Islamic period by scholars known as the Tiberian Masoretes, but the oral tradition they represent has roots in antiquity. The grammatical textbooks and reference grammars of Biblical Hebrew in use today are heirs to centuries of tradition of grammatical works on Biblical Hebrew in Europe. The paradox is that this European tradition of Biblical Hebrew grammar did not have direct access to the way the Tiberian Masoretes were pronouncing Biblical Hebrew. 

In the last few decades, research of manuscript sources from the medieval Middle East has made it possible to reconstruct with considerable accuracy the pronunciation of the Tiberian Masoretes, which has come to be known as the ‘Tiberian pronunciation tradition’. This book presents the current state of knowledge of the Tiberian pronunciation tradition of Biblical Hebrew and a full edition of one of the key medieval sources, Hidāyat al-Qāriʾ ‘The Guide for the Reader’, by ʾAbū al-Faraj Hārūn. It is hoped that the book will help to break the mould of current grammatical descriptions of Biblical Hebrew and form a bridge between modern traditions of grammar and the school of the Masoretes of Tiberias. 

Links and QR codes in the book allow readers to listen to an oral performance of samples of the reconstructed Tiberian pronunciation by Alex Foreman. This is the first time Biblical Hebrew has been recited with the Tiberian pronunciation for a millennium.

See also the forthcoming:

Studies in Rabbinic Hebrew


This volume presents a collection of articles centring on the language of the Mishnah and the Talmud – the most important Jewish texts (after the Bible), which were compiled in Palestine and Babylonia in the latter centuries of Late Antiquity. Despite the fact that Rabbinic Hebrew has been the subject of growing academic interest across the past century, very little scholarship has been written on it in English. 

Studies in Rabbinic Hebrew addresses this lacuna, with eight lucid but technically rigorous articles written in English by a range of experienced scholars, focusing on various aspects of Rabbinic Hebrew: its phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics and lexicon. This volume is essential reading for students and scholars of Rabbinic studies alike, and constitutes the first in a new series, Studies in Semitic Languages and Cultures, in collaboration with the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Text & Canon Institute Videos

Phoenix Seminary's Text & Canon Institute has uploaded video recordings of two lectures on the history of the OT text. These are aimed at a popular audience, but it is nice to see the speakers' take on the issues.

Peter Gentry, Chaos Theory and the Text of the Old Testament

Anthony Ferguson, Listening to the Dead Sea Scrolls