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Document Details :
Title: Linguistic Remarks on the Unity of 4QMMT and its Implications for Hebrew in the Late Second Temple Period
Author(s): WEARNE, Gareth J.
Journal: Revue de Qumran
Volume: 33 Issue: 1 Date: numéro 117, 2021
4QMMT is an important witness to the diversity of Hebrew in the late Second Temple Period. Its significance stems both from its distinctive grammar and claims that it resembles a form of spoken Hebrew. Yet the usefulness of 4QMMT for both sociolinguistic and historical reconstructions is complicated by arguments that it is a composite text which preserves two distinct linguistic profiles. Focusing primarily on the level of verbal syntax, this article argues that the perceived linguistic differences between the two major sections of 4QMMT are illusory and reflect nothing more than a shift in thematic focus. This conclusion is then used to argue for the differentiation of registers in the Dead Sea Scrolls, according to which the majority of the Scrolls reflect a 'high' literary register, while the Hebrew of 4QMMT is closer to a spoken register.