web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Title: Lexical Studies in the Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Inscriptions: The Collected Essays of Hayim Tawil


book-lexical-studies

Share Button

Title: Lexical Studies in the Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Inscriptions: The Collected Essays of Hayim Tawil
Editors: Abraham Jacob Berkovitz, Stuart W. Halpern, and Alec Goldstein
Publisher: Ktav

This excellent, delightful and lucid collection represents some of the best in academic research. Philological, lexicographical, linguistic, epigraphical, cultural, mythological, ritualistic, and historical knowledge are informed by virtuosity in comparative ancient Semitic languages. These erudite studies by the high-powered academic scholarship of Hayim Tawil – a professor of Hebrew languages and literature at Yeshiva University – shed light on Biblical Hebrew, the whole field of Ancient Near Eastern studies, medieval exegetical traditions, and the reception history of the Biblical text from antiquity to the present day.

One rarely encounters such a great breadth, depth, multi-variegated, and diverse interdisciplinary knowledge applied to analysis of the Biblical text – especially from an Orthodox source. The collected essays exhibit precise close readings of the texts’ details, and is fully visionary to reveal the forest for the trees.

The book’s first section contains Tawil’s lexicographical notes, in which he uncovers linguistic nuances by employing comparative Semitic linguistics. The essays on the Hebrew Bible in the second section testify to Tawil’s broad interest in and expert mastery of topics such as the historicity of II Kings, chapter 19 and Isaiah chapter 37, Amos’ Oracles against the nations, citation of bathing in milk in Song of Songs, the many wives of Solomon and his daughter Taphat, the word appiryon in Song of Songs (3:10), metaphors of lions and birds in Isaiah 31:4-5 in light of Neo-Assyrian Royal inscriptions, and legal terminology of the case in Exodus 22:2 (“if the sun has risen upon him”) in light of Akkadian texts from Ugarit. The third section contains Tawil’s work on Northwest Semitic inscriptions that makes a unique contribution to the study of Aramaic idioms. The fourth section contains the Hebrew versions of two articles appearing in this volume.

An example of Tawil’s approach is illustrated in his examination in the context of Song of Songs 8:8-10: “ If she is a wall we will build on her a silver buttress/if she be a door we will close her with a cedar.” Tawil writes, “in order to better understand the author’s choice of metaphors (wall battlement; I am a wall – my breast are like migdalot) as well as their symbolic significance, one should study these architectural terms in the light of their ancient Near Eastern epigraphical and iconographical parallels” (128). While the wall metaphor as suggested by many commentators including Tawil is a metaphor for chastity, Rashi writes that the walls refer to the walls of the Beit HaMikdash and the doors refer to the doors of the synagogues in Yerushalayim. Rashi renders chalil as “a crown” in Shemot 9:6 referring to the French “couronne” (nezer) which is translated chalil by the Targum. Tawil demonstrates that “the author(s) of Song of Songs were indeed cognizant of the architectural symbolism that depicts the battlement which decorates the city wall as ‘a crown worn by queens (131).’ ” Tawil marshals drawings (p.137-142) of reliefs from the ancient Near East of denated crowns, crenellated crowns, and turreted crowns adorning the ramparts of walled cities. The architectural metaphor from Song of Songs is one of fortification in the sense of cloistered protection. Thus the chaste women is likened in architectural terms to an impregnable city.

There are very many other examples of Tawil’s broad scope and knowledge. I highly recommend that academic-minded readers pick up a copy and study them all.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Title: Lexical Studies in the Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Inscriptions: The Collected Essays of Hayim Tawil”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Who will he take to the dance?
It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from David B. Levy
book-jewish-identity

Published originally in 1965, this reissue of a classic is now more relevant than ever. Jewish law legislates that a child is Jewish if the mother is Jewish, or one who had converted to Judaism according to specific halachic requirements. Jewish identity is thus not merely sociological and demographic (if Jews live in the land of Israel) nor ethnic (differences in customs, folkways, and liturgy and practice of Ashkenazi Jews vs. Sephardic Jews), but rather determined by a maternal hereditary religious blood covenant.

book-red-strings

Rabbi Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) was a halachist par excellence, philosopher, physician, and a political leader of the Jewish community at the ibn Ezra Synagogue of Egypt. Born in Cordovero, Spain and caused to flee a fanatical Muslim sect, the Rambam travelled to Morocco, Eretz Yisrael, Alexandria, and then served as a physician in the court of the Sultan in Cairo Fostat.

This excellent, delightful and lucid collection represents some of the best in academic research. Philological, lexicographical, linguistic, epigraphical, cultural, mythological, ritualistic, and historical knowledge are informed by virtuosity in comparative ancient Semitic languages. These erudite studies by the high-powered academic scholarship of Hayim Tawil – a professor of Hebrew languages and literature at Yeshiva University – shed light on Biblical Hebrew, the whole field of Ancient Near Eastern studies, medieval exegetical traditions, and the reception history of the Biblical text from antiquity to the present day.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/title-lexical-studies-in-the-bible-and-ancient-near-eastern-inscriptions-the-collected-essays-of-hayim-tawil/2013/01/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: