Biblical Languages at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, eh?

For those interested in biblical languages, visiting Regina in late May ‒ or both ‒ this is for you!

At the 2018 CSBS/SCÉB Annual Meeting, to be held May 26-28, 2018, at the University of Regina, Regina, SK (that’s Saskatchewan, not South Kentucky, for those of you who’ve forgotten your northern geography), there will be a special session devoted to biblical languages. Depending on the number of accepted proposals, this may result in one or two meeting slots. If you love Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Latin, Armenian, Ge’ez, or any other primary language critical to biblical studies, consider submitting a proposal. The papers should be focused on language, but need not be formally linguistic (i.e., theoretical) in nature. The call for proposals is below:

Biblical Languages and Linguistics

A special session devoted to biblical languages and linguistics has been approved for the 2018 and 2019 annual meetings of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. Proposals concerning any ancient language relating to the biblical texts and/or ancient Versions, from Hebrew and Greek to Syriac and Ge‘ez, are welcomed. Preference is for papers that focus on some feature of grammar as it relates to the interpretation of biblical texts. Comparison of specific features of language traditions (e.g., some Syriac grammatical phenomenon in the Peshitta compared to the Hebrew or Greek of the Vorlage) is also encouraged. Please submit 250-word abstracts by January 8, 2018 to Robert Holmstedt robert.holmstedt@utoronto.ca

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On the Syntax of BH Poetry

Saturday morning I presented a paper at the annual Canadian Society for Biblical Studies. In the paper, I addressed some issues of poetic syntax. Why am I studying poetry? I’m not really that poetic or creative or literarily sensitive. (I will confess that much of what passes for poetry mystifies me, but then I’d probably have rebuked E.E. Cummings and told him to take a course in punctuation.)

Why I’m studying poetry is simply that this is the road some recent linguistics research led me down. I wouldn’t be on this road otherwise. Regardless, I’m interested in getting feedback on my notions. To that end, my paper is posted below.

Holmstedt_Syntax of Hebrew Poetry_CSBS2017

In a small nutshell, I’m attempting to reduce the syntactic options that an ancient Hebrew poetic faced when concluding a poetic line. My argument is that it can be described as a binary choice, between apposition and non-apposition, rather than the six tropes that Michael O’Connor described in his magisterial Hebrew Verse Structure. I see all uses of language through a grammatical lens. My first question when I encounter some conventional use of language is always, “How does that work syntactically?” I take the position that no matter the convention (of prose, poetry, epistolary, etc.), they are always bound by grammar.

So, let me know if I’ve convinced you, even in part.

Esther 3:8-15

And here is the second half of Esther 3. I’m still considering whether I will post further in Esther. Even if I do, it won’t be until the end of the month, though.

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Esther 3:1-7

This and the next section, together accounting for all of Esther 3, will be my last two posts in this aborted series. Lack of interaction suggests that there is little advantage in posting the rest of our commentary here.

But later in the spring I’ll add a few posts about some of my recent linguistic studies.

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Esther 2:21-23

Below is our commentary on the final scene of the first major part of the book of Esther.

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Esther 2:11-20

Here is the remainder of the section begun in the last post.

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Esther 2:5-10

Here is the next instalment — a partial section. The rest of the section will likely follow in two days.

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