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Qumran Hebrew: An Overview of Orthography, Phonology, and Morphology
Eric D. Reymond
RBS 76
Publication Date
February 2014


A unique study of the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls

In Qumran Hebrew, Reymond examines the orthography, phonology, and morphology of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Short sections treat specific linguistic phenomena and present a synopsis and critique of previous research. Reymond’s approach emphasizes problems posed by scribal errors and argues that guttural letters had not all “weakened” but instead were “weak” in specific linguistic environments, texts, or dialects. Reymond illustrates that certain phonetic shifts (such as the shift of yodh > aleph and the opposite shift of aleph > yodh) occur in discernible linguistic contexts that suggest this was a real phonetic phenomenon.


  • Summary and critique of previous research
  • Discussion of the most recently published scrolls
  • Examination of scribal errors, guttural letters, and phonetic shifts

Eric D. Reymond is Lector in Biblical Hebrew at Yale Divinity School. He is the author of Innovations in Hebrew Poetry: Parallelism and the Poems of Sirach and New Idioms within Old: Poetry and Parallelism in the Non-Masoretic Poems of 11Q5 (=11QPsa) (both from Society of Biblical Literature).


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