Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

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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

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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Kabbalah and Magic

(2,500 words)

Author(s): Coudert, Allison P.
Many Jews and Christians believed that the Hebrew language was a powerful force of creation and destruction. In the Hebrew Bible, it clearly says that creation occurred through an act of divine speech. When God said, “Let there be light,” there was light, and Psalm 103 claims that “by the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth”. In the Bible, and particularly in Genesis, the word takes on an existence: it assails the chaos and rushes over it; …

Karaim, Hebrew Component in

(1,584 words)

Author(s): Jankowski, Henryk
1. Introduction Karaim is a Turkic language once spoken by the East European Karaites (Karaims) in the Ukraine (Crimea, Volhynia, and Galicia) and in Lithuania. When writing in Hebrew, the Karaims referred to their Turkic language mostly as לשון קדר lešon qedar, לשון קדרי lašon qedari, or לשון טטר lešon ṭaṭar. There is an Eastern (Crimean) and a Western dialect (formerly the dialect of Polish Karaims) of Karaim, the latter subdivided into a northwestern or Troki, and a southwestern or Halicz-Łuck, dialect (Pritsak 1959:320–323; Shapira 2003:657…

Karaite Hebrew

(2,366 words)

Author(s): Maman, Aharon
The Hebrew used by the Karaites may be divided into three distinct chronological periods, each with its own characteristics: (a) The first period begins with Binyamin Nahāwandi, who was active in the mid-9th century C.E., about one-hundred years after the emergence of the Karaite movement. ʿAnan Ben David, who is traditionally regarded as the founder of the movement, used a version of Babylonian Aramaic that was very similar to the language of the

Karaite Hebrew Translations of Arabic (Byzantium)

(1,935 words)

Author(s): Hopkins, Simon
The Hebrew written by the Karaites of Byzantium is the earliest representative of the large and varied category of Arabicized Mediaeval Hebrew (Arabic Influence: Medieval Period). This Karaite variety of the genre, consisting mostly of translations from Arabic, may fairly be said to be among the most extreme varieties of Arabicized Hebrew produced during the Middle Ages. In most surveys of Hebrew linguistic history the language of the early Karaite translations has not been accorded separate att…

Karaite Legal Documents

(592 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
The Karaites used written documents to record and carry out their legal and business transactions. The Cairo Genizah collections contain some eighty legal documents (betrothal and marriage documents, appointments of a bride’s agent, financial provisions for children before childbirth, a certificate of circumcision, letters of divorce and deeds of release) from the 10th–13th centuries, written according to Karaite formulae. The most distinctive feature of the Karaite legal documents is…

Karaite Pronunciation Traditions: Modern

(2,793 words)

Author(s): Harviainen, Tapani
Karaite transcriptions of Biblical Hebrew in Arabic script (cross reference) dating back to the 9th to 14th centuries C.E., disclose numerous different reading traditions through the use of vowel pointing and other signs. Some of these transcriptions represent the ‘Babylonian’ pronunciation, in which the vowels [a] and [ε] (Tiberian pataḥ and seghol) are not distinguished; others possess the characteristic five ‘Sephardic’ cardinal vowels [a, e, i, o, u]; in some texts the vocalization, at least, is Tiberian, while in a fourth type the counterparts of Tiberian qameṣ and ḥolam are u…

Kaufmann Manuscript of the Mishna

(2,360 words)

Author(s): Bar-Asher, Moshe
For more than a century manuscript A50 of the Kaufmann Collection in the library of the Hungarian National Academy in Budapest, known as the Kaufmann Manuscript (MS K), has been recognized as a superior source for the text and language of the Mishna. S. Kraus described the manuscript in a series of articles in 1907 and in 1929 Beer published a facsimile edition. Since then it has been used by scholars in their studies of the Mishna and its language, for example J. N. Epstein in his Introduction to the Mishnaic Text and E. Y. Kutscher in his studies on the language of the Mishna. The l…

Kerala, Pronunciation Tradition

(1,901 words)

Author(s): Forsström, Jarmo
1. Introduction The history of Jewish settlement on the Malabar coast (modern Kerala) in southwest India before the end of the first millennium C.E. is shrouded in the obscurities of legend and folksong. Much has been done by scholars around the world to extract historical clues from these sources (Katz and Goldberg 1993; Jussay 2005). Scattered mentions of Jews on the Malabar coast are found also in commercial correspondence from the Cairo Genizah and in medieval travelogues. The earliest tangibl…

Kerala, Pronunciation Tradition

(1,925 words)

Author(s): Jarmo Forsström
1. Introduction The history of Jewish settlement on the Malabar coast (modern Kerala) in southwest India before the end of the first millennium C.E. is shrouded in the obscurities of legend and folksong. Much has been done by scholars around the world to extract historical clues from these sources (Katz and Goldberg 1993; Jussay 2005). Scattered mentions of Jews on the Malabar coast are found also in commercial correspondence from the Cairo Genizah and in medieval travelogues. The earliest tangibl…
Date: 2014-10-01

Ketiv and Qere

(3,667 words)

Author(s): Khan, Geoffrey
The Aramaic terms כְּתִיב kəṯīḇ ‘written’ and קְרֵי qərē ‘read’ (henceforth ketiv and qere) are used in the medieval Tiberian Masoretic sources (Masora, Tiberian; Masoretic Treatises) to refer, respectively, to the biblical consonantal text and the reading tradition reflected by the vocalization signs. The Tiberian Masoretic Text of the Bible consists of various components, two of the core ones being the consonantal text and the vocalization signs (Khan 2012). The consonantal text became fixed in the Second Temple Period and the form that…