The Table of Grammar: Lqr't as Test Case
Linguistic and Philological Perspectives: Papers forming part of the 2017 and 2018 SBL Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew Seminar
Keywords:grammar, grammaticalisation, linguistics, philology, prepositions
Biblical Hebrew lqr't is situated at the intersection of grammatical categories as a content item and a function word. The analysis of any given token is confounded by this diversity and its variously encoded denotations: the infinitive construct “to meet” and the polysemous prepositions, the directional TOWARD and the adversative AGAINST. The usage in Exodus 14:27 (wmsrym nsym lqr'tw) prompts a number of different analyses. Interpretations include: hoi de aigyptioi ephygon hypo to hydor (LXX); wmsry' -'rqyn lqwblh (Peshitta); fugientibusque Ægyptiis occurrerunt aquæ (Vulgate); “the Egyptians fled at its approach” (NJPS); “the Egyptians fled before it” (NRSV); and “the Egyptians were fleeing toward it” (NIV). This study examines lqr't by comparing a range of grammatical methods. These approaches centre evolutionary growth (philology), syntagmatic and paradigmatic features (structuralism), functional usage (eclectic linguistics), and cross-linguistic development (grammaticalisation) in order to explore questions of the origin, development, and usage of lqr't. The combined approaches help to situate and construct an archaeology of linguistic knowledge and a genealogy of philological change of language and text.
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