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Document Details :
Title: The Language of the Copper Scroll
Subtitle: A Renewed Examination
Author(s): HØGENHAVEN, Jesper
Journal: Revue de Qumran
Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Date: 2015
In the editio princeps (DJD III, 1962) of the Copper Scroll (3Q15) J.T. Milik defines its Hebrew as a dialect of Mishnaic Hebrew (MH), a description that has been both contested and defended by subsequent scholars. This article surveys main lines of the discussion, and attempts a fresh description of important features of the Hebrew of 3Q15, on the basis of the improved text edition by Émile Puech now available (2006). A comprehensive analysis of the language in 3Q15 confirms, and provides additional evidence for the findings of Milik and other scholars. Features shared by 3Q15 and MH include: Patterns of noun formation, the consistent use of the plural ending ין-, the exclusive use of the relative pronoun ש, the frequent employment of the possessive pronoun של , the use of adjectives of world direction (rather than construct chains). The most striking affinity between 3Q15 and MH is in the vocabulary. As would be expected, 3Q15 has a great number of lexemes which are common to all relevant types of Hebrew (Biblical Hebrew (BH), Qumran Hebrew (QH), and MH). However, of some 89 lexemes in 3Q15, which occur only in some of these 'types' of Hebrew, 33 are shared exclusively by 3Q15 and MH texts. 19 of these have distinct synonyms in BH, and 13 have counterparts in both BH and QH. 3Q15, then, has more points of contact with MH than with any other relevant type of ancient Hebrew.