The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

The Hebrew Language of the Secunda (Second Column of Origen’s Hexapla): Its Context and its Relationship to Other Linguistic Traditions of Hebrew

The tradition of the Secunda is conservative, autonomous, and different from all linguistic traditions of the Hebrew language. Nevertheless, we can consider how it is related to the other attested traditions of Hebrew, the later ones (Tiberian, Babylonian and Palestinian) and the Second Temple period’s ones (Qumranic and Samaritan Hebrew): this is a new issue in the Secunda studies. The paper deals with this principal subject, firstly placing the column in a specific chronological and geographical context, in two different ways: through the relationship between the Hebrew phonetic and the Greek orthography of the column and then through the comparison of its linguistic and phonetic phenomena with the Greek transcriptions of contemporary sources, to better understand Secunda’s conventions of transcriptions and the usage of the graphemes. This is preliminary to discuss the relationship between the Secunda and the other traditions of Hebrew language, to understand which of them is nearer to the independent tradition of the column. In this perspective, it is methodologically more correct to focus on the Samaritan tradition -in Ben-Ḥayyim’s reconstruction- and on the consonantal text of the Qumranic corpus. In fact, both are from the Second Temple period: a sharing of linguistic features between the Secunda and them could be really enlightening about the tradition of the Secunda. Only at this step of work we can compare it to the phenomena of the later traditions, that is Babylonian, Palestinian and Tiberian: this is important to determine the linguistic evolution of the dialect of the Secunda, and mainly to understand how many they maintain ancient features in their stabilization of the Biblical text.