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The Relative Clause in Biblical Hebrew
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The Relative Clause in Biblical Hebrew

by Robert D. Holmstedt

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This book is the result of 15 years of research on the ancient Hebrew relative clause as well as the effective application of modern linguistic approaches to an ancient language corpus. Though the ostensible topic is the relative clause, including a full discussion of the various relative words used to introduce Hebrew relative clauses and a detailed presentation of the relevant comparative Semitic data, this work also carefully navigates the challenges of analyzing a “dead” language and offers a methodological road map for the analysis of any feature of Biblical Hebrew grammar. With the appendixes of relative clause data, including the author’s English translations, the work aims at comprehensiveness, exhaustiveness, and full transparency in data, method, and theory. 

Product Details

Publisher: Eisenbrauns
Publication date: 2016
Bibliographic info: Pp. xvi + 456
Language(s): English


Cover: Cloth
Trim Size: 6 x 9 inches



There can be no doubt regarding the value of Holmstedt's study. Treatment along similar lines of other phenomena will advance our knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and other Semitic languages most considerably.. . . Thus Holmstedt's extensive and very welcome study of the relative clause opens up many perspectives, offers much food for thought, and constitutes a new stage in the debate on the complex syntax of Biblical Hebrew. Hêd?d!—Frank H. Polak, Tel Aviv University in Review of Biblical Literature, April 2017

According to his own account (preface), the book is directed primarily at Hebraists, while the dissertation was broadly linguistic. However, Holmstedt takes account of the Semitic comparative material in a chapter of just under 40 pages. In addition to his own work of the last 15 years, Holmstedt has extensively investigated the research (the bibliography covers 30 pages), so the work is of interest to more than just Hebraists. At the center, of course, is the Hebrew text of the Bible, multiplied by numerous examples from ancient Hebrew epigraphy, Ben Sira and the Qumran literature. . . . The LSAWS series, edited by Cynthia Miller-Naudé and Jacobus Naudé, has become established as a series of indispensable standard works on central questions in North-West Semitic grammar. As the tenth volume [in the LSAWS series], Robert Holmstedt's solid monograph continues this tradition in a dignified manner.—Peter Stein, Jena in ZAW 129 (2017): 297–298

"H.'s idea of using the relative clause as a means of addressing the linguistics of Biblical Hebrew is inherently sensible (all languages have relative clauses). His breadth and depth of scholarship in regard to the HB and linguistics ensure that this study makes good use of his creative idea."—Daniel Crowther in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 41.5

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