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Construct State: Hasidic Hebrew

(1,989 words)

Author(s): Kahn, Lily
The construct chain is the primary method of expressing nominal possession in the Hebrew hagiographic tales composed in late 19th- and early 20th-century Eastern Europe by adherents of the Hasidic spiritual movement. The Hasidic Hebrew construct chain exhibits a variety of noteworthy features reflecting influence from various earlier strata of Hebrew as well as from the authors’ native Yiddish. The most prominent of these features are non-standard definition of construct chains; construct nouns linked by the conjunction waw; construct chains containing abstract plural ab…

Maskilic Hebrew

(2,906 words)

Author(s): Kahn, Lily
Maskilic Hebrew is a literary form of Hebrew used by writers of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) movement in Central and Eastern Europe between ca. 1780 and 1881 in a variety of genres, including essays, autobiographies, news articles, short stories, novels, and poetry. Maskilic Hebrew shows a predilection for biblical vocabulary, morphology, and syntax, but also contains lexical and grammatical elements drawn from Rabbinic and Medieval Hebrew, as well as the authors’ European vernaculars, pa…


(823 words)

Author(s): Kahn, Lily
Meliṣa is the term commonly employed to describe the style typical of the Hebrew prose fiction, non-fiction narratives, and poetry composed by maskilic (Jewish Enlightenment) writers in Central and Eastern Europe between ca. 1780 and 1881. It is a style characterized by an extensive use of Biblical Hebrew vocabulary, particularly hapax legomena (words appearing only once in the biblical corpus, often with uncertain meaning). An example of this is the term מכֹלת makkolet ‘provisions’ (Romanelli 1792:3), which is attested in the Hebrew Bible only in 1 Kgs 5.25. It als…

Hasidic Hebrew

(2,309 words)

Author(s): Kahn, Lily
Hasidic Hebrew is a literary form of Hebrew that was employed in Eastern Europe from the late eighteenth century until the early twentieth century in the composition of tales and parables by or about Hasidic spiritual leaders. Hasidism is a Jewish spiritual movement, emphasizing mysticism and centered on a charismatic leader, which emerged in late 18th-century Eastern Europe and still flourishes throughout the Jewish world. Hasidic Hebrew is one of the only sources of narrative Hebrew composed b…