Linguistic Aspects of the Commentary to Ezekiel and the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Scrolls from Byzantium
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Scholarly article / Hebrew
A commentary on Ezekiel and the Minor Prophets written in Hebrew (with Greek glosses) by a Byzantine Rabbanite Jew named Reuel is preserved on fragments of two tenth-century scrolls (rotuli) from the Cairo Geniza. Its Hebrew exhibits a number of peculiarities found in Byzantine (Karaite) texts of the tenth-eleventh centuries, but has none of the Arabic influence characteristic of those texts. One of these features the use of מליצה with the meaning "interpretation (esp. of a משל)" derives from an exegetical tradition which can be traced back to Aquila, and ultimately to Ben-Sira's grandson as well. Another of these features the use of בטוב in the sense of "well" - originates in the phrase,בטוב ובאמת itself modeled on the biblical בתמים ובאמת. Both of these features later spread to Ashkenaz and other parts of Europe, where they underwent subtle semantic and/or syntactic changes. Other features of Reuel's Hebrew found in Byzantine texts are,צורך ל- = צורך על,נגזר מן = יצא מן and יכול = יוכל. In addition, three rare usages have been identified. The word סדרן is used to refer to a biblical editor confronted with variant readings. This usage is paralleled in two commentaries on Chronicles, one ascribed to the students of R. Saadia Gaon and the other to R. Joseph Qara. In the latter, the סדרן is identified with Ezra. The word הצריט, perhaps from a midrash to Ezek. 8:16-17 partially preserved in the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds, is part of the ancient Hebrew lexicon. It is the reflex of proto-Semitic *ḍ-r-ṭ, "break wind," hitherto attested in every major Semitic language other than Hebrew. The word תחת is apparently used in the sense of "anus," as in R. Ḥananel's talmudic commentary (cf. Yiddish). (Courtesy JSTOR)
שטיינר, ר"ש, and R. C. Steiner. “Linguistic Features of the Commentary on Ezekiel and the Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Scrolls from Byzantium / בחינות לשון בפירוש ליחזקאל ולתרי-עשר שבמגילות העבריות מביזנטיון.”Lĕšonénu: A Journal for the Study of the Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects / לשוננו: כתב-עת לחקר הלשון העברית והתחומים הסמוכים לה נט, no. א (1995): 39–56. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24347091.
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