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Review: לשון המשנה בגניזת קהיר

Reviewed Works: לשון המשנה בגניזת קהיר: הגה וצורות by גבריאל בירנבאום; The Language of the Mishna in the Cairo Geniza by Gabriel Birnbaum
Review by: דורון יעקב , Doron Ya'akov
Lĕšonénu: A Journal for the Study of the Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects / לשוננו: כתב-עת לחקר הלשון העברית והתחומים הסמוכים לה
Vol. עב‎, No. א/ב‎ (אדר התש"ע), pp. 203-216
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24327880
Page Count: 14
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לשון המשנה בגניזת קהיר
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Abstract

Gabriel Birnbaum's book makes an important contribution to the study of mishnaic Hebrew. As Genizah fragments comprise a separate branch of mishnaic manuscripts, there is great importance to their linguistic description. The book discusses fifty-one fragments that are not vocalized with Babylonian signs. For fifteen a full orthographic and morphological description of verbs and nouns is provided. The remaining thirty-six fragments receive only a partial description; however, because the description states what is unique as compared to the printed editions and to MS Kaufmann, they are sufficiently comprehensive. These fragments include many vocalized forms, and therefore present a clearer picture of the tradition or traditions that they represent. Furthermore, as these are very ancient manuscripts (some date to the early ninth century), and probably among the earliest manuscripts to use Tiberian vocalization signs, these fragments also shed light on the formation of the Tiberian tradition. The conclusions of the book show that, despite the wide variety of traditions reflected by the Genizah fragments, in most cases they resemble the tradition of the most reliable manuscripts of the Mishnah. However, many unique or unusual forms are found in the Genizah fragments; for example: נשואין ארוסין, מנעל, מכאן, ולהבא (and not as expected: מכאן, ולבא נישואין,אירוסין,מנעל). Finally, the data presented in this book can assist our understanding of the original mishnaic Hebrew and clarify its division into different types. I am convinced that, from now on, this book will become a cornerstone of future mishnaic Hebrew research.

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