Journal for Semitics 2023-11-02T06:30:06+00:00 Renate Van-Dijk Coombes Open Journal Systems <p><strong>Hybrid Open Access</strong></p> <p>The <em>Journal for Semitics</em> is published by the Southern African Society for Near Eastern Studies (SASNES). The journal is published twice annually. <em>Journal for Semitics</em> is accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training.</p> LXXSA 2023 2023-11-02T06:30:06+00:00 Johann Cook 2023-10-27T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press Revisiting John Chrysostom’s Interpretation of the Relationship between Abram and Lot and Their Separation in LXX Genesis 12–13 2023-10-17T06:55:16+00:00 Chris L de Wet <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">This article revisits and examines more closely John Chrysostom’s (ca. 349–407 CE) characterisation of Lot—specifically his relationship with Abram and their separation in LXX Gen 12–13—as an exemplar to think about early Christian social relations. This study forms part of a larger project investigating Chrysostom’s use of Old Testament exemplars in his preaching and moral instruction. It is shown that the formulation of early Christian social ideals was mediated by means of scriptural exemplars like Lot. Rickett’s (2019) descriptive analysis of Chrysostom’s reconstruction of Lot’s character in Gen 13 is a useful trajectory for this study. However, while Rickett explains in detail what Chrysostom thought about Lot’s separation from Abram (and how this differs or concurs with other interpreters), he does not discuss why Chrysostom reconstructs the character of Lot in the way he does. This is the purpose of this study—to ask more pertinent questions on why Chrysostom wants to safeguard Lot’s reputation and, more generally, why he was such a useful exemplar in early Christian biblical interpretation.</span></p> 2023-10-27T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press Variatio Theologica in Libro Iob? An Analysis of the Translation of ’Ĕlōhîm by Kurios in LXX Job 2023-08-08T08:22:52+00:00 Bryan Beeckman <p>The default Greek equivalents of <em>yhwh</em> and <em>’ĕlōhîm</em> are respectively <em>kurios</em> and <em>theos</em>. However, throughout the LXX, <em>yhwh</em> is often rendered by <em>theos</em> and <em>’ĕlōhîm</em> by <em>kurios</em>. In an article dealing with divine names in LXX Pentateuch published in 2007, Martin Rösel concluded that this variation can be explained on the basis of theological motivations. Nonetheless, my own study on the translation of <em>yhwh</em>/<em>theos</em> and <em>’ĕlōhîm</em>/<em>kurios</em> in LXX Proverbs has indicated that this variation in Proverbs is not influenced by theological motivations but that both Greek divine names have been used interchangeably by the LXX translator. In order to see whether this is also the case in other LXX books, this paper will examine the rendering of <em>’ĕlōhîm</em> by <em>kurios</em> in LXX Job. By doing so, this paper aims to obtain a better characterisation of the translation technique and theology of LXX Job.</p> 2023-10-27T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press The Customary and Existing Order: Reconsidering the Role of Yamm in the Baal Myth 2023-11-02T06:30:02+00:00 Bobby Kurnia Putrawan Ludwig Beethoven Jones Noya Agus Santoso Iswahyudi <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">The conflict between Baal and Yamm in the Baal Cycle’s opening is notably considered a challenging scene to understand. This paper sees Yamm’s role as representing the customary and existing order rather than chaos or disorder. Such a function is revealed through Baal’s double paternity in the cycle. Instead of justifying one of the possibilities to read the conflict, this concept reconciles all possibilities in an alternative reading. Under the idea of Yamm as the customary and existing order, and Baal as the one who is attempting to disrupt the order, one can read the conflict politically, domestically, and naturally. However, as Baal’s propaganda, the defeated Yamm had to be portrayed as the opposite of order, namely chaos. The customary order has been broken and depicted as chaos for a political purpose: to promote the new order. </span></p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press A Spatial Reading of Obadiah on the Vertical Axis of the Ancient Near Eastern Cosmic Geography 2023-07-17T09:52:16+00:00 Jo-Marí Schäder <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">Since the 1970s, biblical studies have experienced a “spatial turn,” giving rise to an emphasis on a variety of approaches to the spatial analysis of biblical texts. Space is something that is constructed, produced, and represented by means of words. It is thus possible for the associations and memories of spaces to change. This study’s purpose is threefold: (1) to provide a short overview of the significance of studying space and memory together; (2) to provide an overview of ancient Near Eastern cosmic geography to contextualise our study’s reference to vertical spatial orientation; and (3) to illustrate how such a vertical spatial reading can aid us in better understanding the text of Obadiah, which deals predominantly with space in terms of land and sacred space.</span></p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press A Trauma Reading of Isaiah 1–12 from the “Unity Movement” Perspective 2023-07-17T09:52:09+00:00 Alphonso Groenewald Elizabeth Esterhuizen <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">In this contribution we focus firstly on the “unity movement” which has changed the face of Isaianic studies over the last 30 or more years, having been characterised by the Duhmian interpretation of three separate books for nearly 100 years. The unity movement focusses on the book of Isaiah as a literary unity, but it does not deny the historical growth of this literary masterpiece which took place over centuries. Secondly, we give a brief overview of the use of trauma theory as a reading lens in biblical studies and its implication for reading the book of Isaiah in this manner. In the third part we focus on three themes which are important from the perspective of the unity of the book of Isaiah (specifically in Isaiah 1–12 which is the first major subsection within the larger composition of the book of Isaiah). These three themes are important for a trauma reading of the book of Isaiah, as will be indicated in this contribution: the concept of the we-group (remnant), the woe oracles, and the theme of the “day of YHWH // this day.” These themes are briefly dealt with within Isaiah 1–12, although they have major implications for a more detailed study of the book of Isaiah (read as a literary unity) from a trauma theoretical perspective.</span></p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press An Overview of Biblical Hebrew Grammars and Current Trends in Research on Masoretic Accents 2023-09-12T07:59:22+00:00 Lodewyk Sutton <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">The Masoretic accents are, from different points of view, a neglected field of research. This is mainly because of the way that students of Biblical Hebrew are exposed to the accents in their formation years and to how the functional value of the accents was viewed. In recent years, a new scholarly interest in the accents has developed with a specific focus on the function and value of the accents. This article provides a short overview of some Biblical Hebrew grammars to indicate how these grammars have included and approached the study of Masoretic accents. This will be done by comparing the content of a number of introductory-level grammars as well as intermediate-level grammars. Attention will be given to grammars by South African scholars. After that, a number of conclusions are drawn, and several recent contributions on the topic are considered.</span></p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press Worse Than a Curse: The Meaning and Syntax of ḥērem in Malachi 3:24 [4:6] 2023-08-08T08:22:56+00:00 Jacques Boulet <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">In the history of the interpretation of Malachi, the word <em>ḥērem</em> which closes the book has been analysed in four different ways by translators and commentators, namely as a second object, an adverbial of means, an adverbial intensive, and a resultative secondary predicate. This article examines the four options and proposes the resultative analysis, hitherto only unambiguously attested in the Peshitta OT, as the best interpretation. This leads to the conclusion that <em>ḥērem</em> is something which the land becomes as a result of God’s action against it. I support the resultative analysis with data from Biblical Hebrew and maintain that this analysis best fits the consensus on the meaning of the word <em>ḥērem</em>, proposing a minimal understanding of the word in Malachi 3:24 [4:6] as “something unusable because it is under divine sanction.” Under this interpretation, the threat made by God in Malachi 3:24 is both more specific and more serious than what is communicated by most translations. In its final verse, Malachi issues an ultimatum against the people which throws into question the ongoing role of the land in the divine plan. For the final portion of the verse, I propose the translation “lest I come and strike the land, leaving it profaned.”</span></p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press An Instance of Utilising Numismatology in Dating Biblical Texts: Leviticus 27:25 as a Test Case 2023-09-12T07:59:16+00:00 Arend Hattingh <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">The date of the Pentateuch and its constituent parts is an ongoing debate in Old Testament studies. This article offers another way of dating a text. In Leviticus 27, which is widely regarded as an addendum to Leviticus, there is a reference to a specific currency. The study of coins, numismatology, is an expanding field, especially over the last 40 years. This article utilises numismatology to date Lev 27. The article touches on the debate of the mint in Jerusalem and the impact of the successful rebellion of Egypt on the Persian Empire. The coins found to date in Persian Yehud are discussed to identify the currency mentioned in the text of Lev 27. The article concludes that the date of Leviticus ascertained using redaction criticism is similar to the date determined for Lev 27 using numismatics.</span></p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press How Systematic is the Binyanim “System” in Biblical Hebrew? 2023-09-12T07:59:13+00:00 John Cook <p>The question of how systematic the Biblical Hebrew <em>binyanim</em> system is concerns both the pedagogy and the scholarly study of the language. Introductory grammars often, if inadvertently, present the <em>binyanim</em> to students as containing more complete and more predictable meaning relations than there actually are. Grammars and scholarly studies of the <em>binyanim</em> tend to operate with an assumption that the same root in a different <em>binyan</em> must have a different semantic-syntactic character, even if it requires some effort to tease it out with finely, if not always convincing, nuanced explanations. Following the model in Maya Arad’s examination of the <em>binyanim</em> in Modern Hebrew based in Distributed Morphology, I examine how complete and systematic the semantic-syntactic interrelationships among <em>binyanim</em> in Biblical Hebrew are and suggest implications from the study for pedagogy, studies of the <em>binyanim</em>, and valency analysis of Biblical Hebrew verbs.</p> 2023-10-27T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press The Peshitta to Ezekiel, the Context of its Translation, and the Identity of its Translators 2023-07-17T09:52:11+00:00 Godwin Mushayabasa <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">The Peshitta to Ezekiel has recently been described as a translation that closely represents the frames in the Hebrew text with corresponding frames in the natural Syriac language of the time of its translation. Such an approach to translation entailed a novel translation technique, as far as the translations of the Scriptures in the period up to the first three centuries CE were concerned. Such a characteristic feature of the translation, together with other socio-political conditions leads us to reflect on the ongoing question about the identity of the translators as well as the motivations behind their translation. A close literary and historical analysis of these factors showed that the Peshitta to Ezekiel would have been produced for a Christian community, rather than for Jews.</span></p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press Disjunctive Questions in Biblical Hebrew: A Syntactic, Semantic, and Pragmatic Analysis 2023-07-17T09:52:19+00:00 Jesse Scheumann <p>A disjunctive question presents an alternative to a previously-expressed state of affairs. Biblical Hebrew has four constructions for forming disjunctive questions. After an initial <em>hă</em>-question, the second can be introduced with <em>h</em><em>ă</em>, <em>ʾim</em>, <em>w</em><em>əʾim</em>, or <em>ʾô.</em> While Hebrew reference grammars simply acknowledge the variation, this paper systematically addresses these constructions and distinguishes them on syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic grounds. The key results are a finer distinction between conjunction and disjunction and a recognition of how ellipsis discriminates between polar and alternative questions.</p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press Children Grow by Nature But Are Raised by Nurture: Parental Instruction in Proverbs 22:4–6 for Raising Children in Nigeria 2023-08-08T08:23:08+00:00 Favour Uroko <p>This article uses the interpretation of Proverbs 22:4–6 as a lens through which to view traditional Nigerian attitudes about children and early childhood education. Proverbs 22:4–6 insists that children grow by nature but nurturing the child is the job of the parents. The pericope further insists that parents should train up their children by their words and the type of life they live. The aphorisms in the biblical text’s structure are important in analysing the deteriorating state of children’s upbringing in Nigeria. Contextualising the pericope reveals that Nigerian parents are no longer providing moral and spiritual values to their children. Parents have also left most if not all of the responsibility of training up children in the hands of teachers. This study argues that the challenges that Nigerian society is experiencing could be solved if parents start the process of taking up the responsibility of nurturing their children rather than leaving it in the hands of the children’s teachers and peers.</p> 2023-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Unisa Press