The ancient Hebrew semantic field of cutting tools: A philological, archaeological, and semantic study
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This is a study of the ancient Hebrew words which refer to cutting tools. This lexical field is here divided into sub-fields based on the uses of the implements to which the words refer, and the first few chapters offer detailed studies of the tools used in agricultural work, woodworking, and masonry. The following chapter deals with the terminology for swords and related artifacts. A further chapter studies the terminology for razors, and the final chapter offers a specific study of the word mukhratehem.;The individual chapters offer case studies in lexicology and lexicography, utilizing all available data and a consciously eclectic methodology. In some cases archaeological data is seen to provide the best guidance in identifying the referents of words; in other cases, comparative Semitics allows for the greatest specificity in definition; in still other cases, it is rabbinic literature which provides the crucial evidence. In addition to the conclusions reached in the individual chapters, the work as a whole proposes conclusions regarding the way the ancient Hebrew lexicon divided up the semantic field of cutting tools. Comparative work, begun here, can study how other languages with which Hebrew speakers were in contact carved up the same semantic field in order to find similarities and differences between cultures in this regard.;Throughout the work, comparative data from the ancient Near East as well as later stages of ancient Hebrew (Mishnaic Hebrew) is presented. In the end, conclusions are drawn regarding the value of such comparative data and regarding the question of whether Hebrew's neighbors shared its semantic structure, and some clear cases are highlighted in which Mishnaic Hebrew is found to be more valuable for Biblical Hebrew lexicography than other languages.