Archive for the ‘Anderson, Francis I’ category

Andersen, Francis I. and Forbes, A. Dean. Spelling in the Hebrew Bible. Biblica et Orientalia 41; Rome: Biblical Institute, 1986.

August 28, 2007

The work of Cross and Freedman on early Hebrew orthography analyzed Northwest Semitic inscriptions in an attempt to describe the introduction and use of matres lectionis in Hebrew spelling. Using this basic typology, Anderson and Forbes have attempted to statistically analyze spelling in the Hebrew Bible in order to draw historical conclusions on the transmission of the Hebrew text. They conclude that the text in general reflects the spelling practice of the Exilic and Persian periods (600-300 BCE). The Pentateuch stands out from the rest as being uniform and conservative in orthography. The basic assumption is that the more archaic the spelling of a book, the earlier it was “canonized”. The Primary History seems to have been canonized in the 6th century BCE, whereas the other books were written or edited after the Exile.


Anderson, Francis I. and David Noel Freedman, “The Orthography of the Aramaic Portion of the Tell Fekherye Bilingual” in Text and Context: Old Testament and Semitic Studies for F. C. Fensham, ed. W. Claassen, JSOT Supplements 48 (Sheffield, 1988): 9-49.

August 28, 2007

Anderson and Freedman are mainly interested in the spelling practices used in the Aramaic portion of the inscription. Their method is to examine the inscription by analyzing all of the words in which vowel letters potentially occur. They conclude that the use of vowel letters is consistent with their analysis of Northwest Semitic inscriptions from Judah, Israel, Ammon and Moab. All final vowels are marked by yod, he, or waw. Aleph never occurs as a vowel letter, it is either a consonant or a determinative marker. Both waw and yod are used to mark medial vowel letters. The scribe tends to limit himself to using one medial vowel letter per word. The use of yod for /i/ seems to have its basis in derivation but the use of waw for /u/ may be analogical and purely phonetic. This would suggest that waw for /u/ could be used more freely as there would be no confusion with historical spelling. For the most part, medial vowel letters tend to mark long vowels in stressed syllables.