Nominal clauses in the Dead Sea Scrolls

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The paper discusses nominal clause patterns in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Nominal clauses were collected from several Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) that represent an independent language, and are not late versions of biblical texts. These are Pesher Habakkuk, the Damascus Document, the War Scroll, The Temple Scroll, and Serekh Ha-Yahcombining dot belowad. The DSS nominal clause patterns revealed in these sources can be divided into two major groups: (1) simple nominal clauses in the order of predicate-subject or of subject-predicate, and (2) extended nominal clauses involving extraposition. Although both word orders of the simple nominal clauses found in the DSS exist in Biblical Hebrew, those of the DSS display more restrictions in their preference for a certain word order with certain types of predicates. The DSS simple nominal clauses in the order of subject-predicate also contain a pattern, unknown in Biblical Hebrew and limited in Mishnaic Hebrew, in which the predicate is a content clause. This pattern appears only in Pesher Habakkuk, and its content clause is introduced there by the subordinate, more commonly relative particle, asher. Extended patterns appear to be very rare in the DSS, and they mostly include clauses also labeled as the exegetical formula, which show similarity to a certain type of appositional clauses in Biblical Hebrew.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-291
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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