October 2001 – September 2002
Steven Fassberg (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Avi Hurvitz (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
In 1961 William L. Moran published “The Hebrew Language in Its Northwest Semitic Background” (The Bible and the Ancient Near East: Essays in Honor of William Foxwell Albright, ed. G. Ernest Wright). In it, Moran presented a state-of-the-art description of the linguistic milieu out of which Biblical Hebrew developed. He stressed the features found in earlier Northwest Semitic languages that are similar to Hebrew, and he demonstrated how the study of those languages sheds light on Biblical Hebrew. More than forty years have passed since the publication of William L. Moran’s now classic description of Hebrew in the light of its Northwest Semitic background. Since the late 1950’s, when the article was written, our knowledge of both Northwest Semitic and the Hebrew of the biblical period has increased considerably.
Our research group will convene to undertake research in the light of the significant advances in the study of Biblical Hebrew and Northwest Semitic in the past four decades.