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Document Details :

Title: When Left is not Right
Subtitle: אטר יד ימינו in its Literary and Linguistic Contexts
Author(s): ZEVIT, Ziony
Journal: Biblica
Volume: 101    Issue: 2   Date: 2020   
Pages: 186-207
DOI: 10.2143/BIB.101.2.3288261

Abstract :
The common translation of אטר יד ימינו (Judg 3,15; 20,16) as 'left-handed due to a non-functioning right hand' was known in Tannaitic Hebrew and is supported by modern arguments based on Arabic cognates of Hebrew ’-ṭ-r and the morphology of ’iṭṭēr. An examination of this translation and supporting arguments finds them wanting. This study provides an alternative interpretation based on literary considerations and linguistics. It concludes that the phrase is best translated by 'ambidextrous' and that in Biblical Hebrew it refers to ambidextrous slingers and archers. To reach these conclusions, this study also draws on research into handedness and on educating for ambidexterity.

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