The Verbal System in the Hebrew Text of Ben Sira

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This volume is a revised and enlarged version of the author's Ph.D. dissertation (1999). It gives a comprehensive analysis of the morphosyntax and syntax of the tenses in the Hebrew text of Ben Sira. Due attention is paid to the heterogeneous character of the textual evidence (three manuscripts from the Desert of Judah and six mediaeval manuscripts from the Cairo Geniza), which complicates any linguistic study of Ben Sira. A descriptive analysis is complemented by a comparison with other contemporaneous, earlier, and later forms of Hebrew. It is argued that the Hebrew of Ben Sira is a literary language in its own right, rather than an imitation of Biblical Hebrew or a predecessor of Mishnaic Hebrew.

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Meet the Author

Willem Th. van Peursen, Ph.D. (1999), Leiden University, is post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Theology, Leiden University. He has published on Ben Sira, Classical Hebrew and Syriac, and is co-editor of the Concordance to the Peshitta (in progress).
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Table of Contents

Abbreviations and sigla
Ch. 1 Preliminaries 3
Ch. 2 The book of Ben Sira and its textual transmission 9
Ch. 3 Orthography of the Hebrew manuscripts 27
Ch. 4 Studies on Ben Sira's language: a historical survey 52
Ch. 5 The perfect alone 67
Ch. 6 Preliminary considerations concerning the morphology of the imperfect 81
Ch. 7 The imperfect alone 106
Ch. 8 The consecutive perfect 127
Ch. 9 The consecutive imperfect 142
Ch. 10 The copulative perfect 155
Ch. 11 The copulative imperfect 166
Ch. 12 The volitives 180
Ch. 13 The participle 200
Ch. 14 The construct infinitive 241
Ch. 15 The absolute infinitive 277
Ch. 16 Interrogative and exclamatory clauses 287
Ch. 17 Preliminary remarks on subordinate clauses 294
Ch. 18 Substantival clauses 299
Ch. 19 Relative clauses 306
Ch. 20 Temporal clauses 325
Ch. 21 Conditional clauses 347
Ch. 22 Final and consecutive clauses 363
Ch. 23 Causal and explicative clauses 376
Ch. 24 Comparative clauses 385
Conclusions 399
Bibliography 411
Index of passages 439
Index of authors 456
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