Retrograde Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary?

I received an e-mail this morning from Amazon, suggesting that I might be interested in the Retrograde Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary by Ruth Sander and Kerstin Mayerhofer (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010). Here is a look from Google Books.

So, for $115 you get a list of all words attested in Classical Hebrew (Hebrew Bible, Inscriptions, and DSS) listed in reverse alphabetical order (i.e., starting with the last letter instead of the first). Presumably this is a help for texts with lacunae where the first few letters of a word are missing, which would basically be the DSS or very recently found Hebrew inscriptions. However, there are no glosses, no citations, not even part-of-speech information.

Anticipating the objection that this would be better packaged as an electronic database, the authors suggest that 1) the “technical complexities” of a database take too long for people to learn, and 2) since ancient texts are often digitized nowadays, having another window open would crowd the screen. Are you kidding me? All you need is one text-entry box for input and a small window to display the words. Seems to me that they wanted to make a book because a big heavy book feels more worthy of $115 and looks better on a CV.

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2 Comments on “Retrograde Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary?”

  1. Mike Aubrey Says:

    It sounds like it was created by someone who has been avoiding computers at all costs for the past three decades…

  2. Steve Caruso Says:

    Indeed the *perfect* candidate to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 1990’s. :-)

    If you’re going to list them in “retrograde” alphabetical order, while you’re at it, how about alphabetical by anagram values or descending values of gematria? :-)


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