2014 summary, with a new article posted

After a very crazy year (not all of it academics-induced), I can at least say two positive things: First, I had a wonderful year teaching (I am teaching through our BH textbook this year, which is very fun, and I taught a graduate course on Ezekiel, which was challenging and deeply satisfying). And second, though I have not blogged much at all, I have been productive (as has John, but he’ll have to tell you in his own post). Last year witnessed the appearance of my article with my doctoral student, Andrew Jones (see the post here), a just released article on the grammar of זֶה (more on that below), and a soon to appear article on “edge constituents” (i.e., left and right dislocation, topicalization, and extraposition).

The article on זֶה appeared in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures last week and represents one of the last little puzzles I needed to solve before finishing my book on the relative clause (almost done!). This was a very satisfying article to write, since I both solved my problem to my satisfaction and used both sets of skills sets I received in my academic training — linguistics with C.L. Miller-Naudé and close textual reading with M. F. Fox. You can get the article at the JHS site, or I’ve posted it right below.

Holmstedt, Robert D. 2014. Analyzing זֶה Grammar and Reading זֶה Texts of Ps 68:9 and Judg 5:5. The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 14, no. 8: 1-26. (PDF link)

The article on edge constituents represents the fruits of many years labor. I first addressed left dislocation and topicalization for a regional SBL paper way back in 1999. My conclusions back then were not entirely adequate, so I left the issues simmer for over a decade before picking them back up in 2013 and 2014. Though the nearly 50 pages of the KUSATU article (which should appear very soon) do not say *everything* about these issues that should be said, I provide what I consider to be an accurate framework for understanding the syntax and function of the constructions in BH. I will post the article here (as well as to my academia.edu page) when it appears.

Holmstedt, Robert D. 2014. Constituents at the Edge in Biblical Hebrew. KUSATU: Kleine Untersuchungen zur Sprache des Alten Testaments und seiner Umwelt 17, 109-156.

Additionally, I have begun drafting a descriptive grammar of the War Scroll (1QM) with another doctoral student in our program, John Screnock. I will post a few of the spin-off articles here, when they are further along in the press cycle.

Finally, John Screnock and I finished and submitted our Baylor Handbook on the Book of Esther! Phew.

All things considered, 2014 was a busy year. Mostly good, some frustrating. I hope 2015 is more of the good and less of the frustrating.

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9 Responses to “2014 summary, with a new article posted”

  1. bobmacdonald Says:

    I enjoyed the article very much – thanks. Do you consider the atenach in Psalm 68:9 to assist in collecting the pairs of words? I don’t think it impacts your rejection of the genitive role of זה, but it does have an impact on the balance of 6 pairs on each side of ‘the parallelism’. Rather, I wonder if a 3/2 rhythm is implied instead of 2/3. If I punctuate it, it seems almost parenthetical. I am following Fishbane’s reading in Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, p55. The division agrees with the music very well. There is a minor cadence just before the parenthesis and the major midpoint cadence in the subdominant at the atenach.
    אֶ֤רֶץ רָעָ֨שָׁה ׀ אַף־שָׁמַ֣יִם נָטְפוּ֮
    מִפְּנֵ֪י אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים זֶ֥ה סִינַ֑י
    מִפְּנֵ֥י אֱ֝לֹהִ֗ים אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
    Earth quaked, also the heavens dropped
    from the presence of God, (that is Sinai)
    from the presence of God, the God of Israel.

    • robertholmstedt Says:

      Bob,
      I’m glad you liked the article, but I have to scratch my head a little. The division you provide not only ignores the oleh veyored, which is a higher division than the atnach, but also is one I explicitly argue is incorrect in the article.

      • bobmacdonald Says:

        Ah – I did not realize that the oley veyored was considered a higher division. It is common but not as consistently common as the atnach. Thanks for this. This is a challenge to the musical rules of Haik-Vantoura. I’ll be on lookout for the possible conflicts as I work through the text.

        I realize that you see the division as incorrect in the article, but I did not find this adjustment particularly important to your argument. It seems to me that where there are 6 pairs, there could also be three pairs of pairs.

        If you can bear with another question, I see you list Psalm 68:29 as a relative use of זה in your appendix. You note that Ps 68 may be among the earliest Hebrew. Does this mean that the ‘grammaticalization of the demonstrative’ happened early on in the language? I am a bit surprised at this flexibility in the demonstrative pronoun.

      • robertholmstedt Says:

        Bob,
        The Semitic evidence is pretty clear that this is an early grammaticalization. The cross-linguistic evidence indicates that it is fairly common in languages. Indeed, “that” in English does the same thing.

      • bobmacdonald Says:

        Thanks very much Robert. I have just found two books online, Yeivin and Jacobson. I can see in the first the conflict with what I have learned (though what I have learned makes beautiful and more consistent sense than the traditional conjunctive and disjunctive definitions) and in the second I can see the possibility of a cantillation schema that I might be able to compare with the one I know from Vantoura. I can’t be in a hurry – this is a third of a lifetime’s work and I cannot tell if it will be useful or even able to be completed.

      • robertholmstedt Says:

        On the טעמים, everyone should start with Israel Yeivin’s book and go from there.

      • bobmacdonald Says:

        I have managed to find a full copy of Jacobson, The Complete Guide to the Art of Cantillation. It may have enough information to allow automation of some melodies so that I can easily see what is going on. I am impressed with the complex contradictions in the usual explanations of the te’amim. As a systems designer, I simply cannot believe they would have been created in this form. I will study for a year and see and hear what else I uncover of this ancient art from the chironomy to the modern practice. It will not be difficult to compare the results with what Haik-Vantoura worked out with her painstaking analysis in the last century. Thank you, Robert, for the stimulus to look further.

      • robertholmstedt Says:

        Bob,
        In recent conversation with Elan Dresher, he suggested that some recent research of a colleague indicated that the טעמים were designed for the three poetic books and only imperfectly applied to the other 21. You may want to pause on pouring too much energy into finding a perfect system where it never existed.

  2. bobmacdonald Says:

    I did not mention that I posted the music on my blog here. I am also hoping someone else will challenge the music. They do but not with much rationale.


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