SASNES Annual Virtual Seminar 2024

 

2024 SASNES Virtual Meeting

(Hosted by the Dept of Hebrew, University of the Free State)

 

Theme: Hebrew and Its Relevance for Disciplines in The Humanities and Religion

 

By the end of the twenty-first century the world will be dominated by a small number of major languages. On account of language death there will be a great loss of inherited knowledge (David Crystal). In light of International Mother Language Day, the Department of Hebrew is hosting a virtual meeting of the Southern African Society for Near Eastern Studies (SASNES) demonstrating knowledge incorporated in texts of ancient non-living languages, Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic.

 

22 February

15:30-17:00 (South Africa Time)

 

Schedule (Abstracts on pp. 2-3)

 

Chair: Prof.  Tshokolo Makutoane, Academic Head of Hebrew Department

 

Session 1: Hebrew and Its Interdisciplines

 

15:30-16:00    Land Property in Biblical Texts in the Light of Aramaic Ostraca from Second-Temple Period Idumea (4th Cent BCE)

 

Prof. Tania Notarius—Dept of Hebrew, University of the Free State

 

16:00-16:30    Complexity Readings of Shadow of God  in Psalm 121: Its Ancient Near Eastern Context, Linguistic and Poetic Features, and Translation

 

Dr. Kevin Chau—Dept of Hebrew, University of the Free State

 

 

Session 2: Hebrew and Its Relevance for Old Testament Exegesis and Theology  

 

16:30-17:00    An Affirmation of Power: A Bodily-Spatial Reading of Song of Songs

6:4-10

 

Prof. Lodewyk Sutton—Dept of Old Testament and New Testament Studies, University of the Free State

 

 

Meeting Link (see p. 3 for more info about logging in)

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88201958989?pwd=SUVmTHQyUktNT3NqdFNVeVptNzFnZz09

 

 


Abstracts

 

 

Tania Notarius (Dept of Hebrew, University of the Free State)

 

Land Property in Biblical Texts in the Light of Aramaic Ostraca from Second-Temple Period Idumea (4th Cent BCE)

The corpus of the Idumean ostraca from the late Persian period became known due to the foremost publication of four volumes of the Textbook of the Aramaic Ostraca from Idumea, by Prof. Bezalel Porten and Dr. Ada Yardeni (z”l), the Hebrew University. After the premature death of Dr. Ada Yardeni, the final stage of this project has been accomplished in her absence, and I was invited to work on the edition, commentary, and introduction for the fifth volume. The fifth volume represents texts of a land-registration genre. These are about 100 ostraca that describe land boundaries, contain list of fields with or without measurements, give information about the names of owners and the transactions with fields. This corpus provides us with a unique glance into the world of the rural population in the Second Temple (Persian) period and throws new light on the biblical texts about land property (particularly in the book of Joshua). In this paper I will represent the content of five volumes, laying special emphasis on the land documentation and terminology, and summarize the contribution of this edition into our study of the Idumea and Judea in this period.

 

Kevin Chau (Dept of Hebrew, University of the Free State)

 

Complexity Readings of Shadow of God  in Psalm 121: Its Ancient Near Eastern Context, Linguistic and Poetic Features, and Translation

Psalm 121 at first glance seems like a simplistic and straight-forward psalm. The vocabulary is filled with common words; its syntax is clear without any of the difficulties common to many other psalms; its central metaphor of God as the psalmist’s shadow is seemingly uncomplicated and unambiguous. And yet the understanding of the psalm’s metaphor is enriched when the wider ancient Near Eastern (ANE) context is considered, specifically the notion of sleeping deities, divine shade, and moon deities. As a result of these aforementioned issues, the psalm’s poetry, critically founded upon the linguistic structures of Hebrew, has been perhaps unduly underanalysed. This paper contends that a complexity approach, with Hebrew language as central, is necessary for fully comprehending the psalm and its central metaphor. Ultimately, this paper hopes to show how Hebrew participates in the interdisciplinarity of linguistics, lyric poetry, metaphor in cognitive linguistic, and ANE studies. The psalm’s poetry forms a beautifully crafted tapestry where parallelisms at all linguistic levels (phonological, morphological, lexical, syntactic, and semantic) are intricately woven. While scholars differ as to the psalm’s macrostructure, a complete linguistic analysis of the psalm’s poetic parallelism allows for the psalm’s structure to emerge convincingly as a rhythmic series of four quatrains (vv. 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8). This rhythm also reveals how enjambed lines in each quatrain provide the poetic focus for understanding the richness of the psalm’s metaphor of God as shadow. The quatrain and enjambed structures reveal how one can attain a fuller reading of the shadow metaphor (vv. 5-6) in light of the third and fourth quatrains (vv. 3-4; 7-8), verses not normally associated with the shadow metaphor. These analyses of the linguistic parallelisms segue into a cognitive linguistic analysis of the central metaphor, arguing how the shadow metaphor must be understood via two different frame semantics: the shadow created by one’s figure vs. the shade in which one takes shelter. Lastly, utilizing the results of the aforementioned linguistic-based analyses, this paper proposes refinements for how the psalm’s commonly identified ANE motifs.

 

 

Lodewyk Sutton (Dept of Old Testament and New Testament Studies, University of the Free State)

 

An Affirmation of Power: A Bodily-Spatial Reading of Song of Songs 6:4-10

 

 

Song of Songs or Canticle of Canticles is one of the more enigmatic books in the Hebrew Bible. The diversity of interpretations over the centuries attests to this. It is characterised by its spatial descriptions and language. These descriptions contain images from physical landscapes such as vineyards, gardens, cities, and other landscapes, many of which are employed to describe female and male bodies. The spatial contours in the book are not limited to outer human descriptions but also that of the inner body and mind. In this paper, chapter 6:4-10 is analysed from social space incorporating embodied space. In these verses, the warfare imagery demonstrating power is noticeable. Studying the text from these spatial perspectives can contribute to the communicative

 

 

 

Logging into the Virtual Meeting

 

  • The meeting platform is zoom.com. You need not have a paid version and can simply log in with the link. If the link does not work, try copying and pasting into your browser.

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88201958989?pwd=SUVmTHQyUktNT3NqdFNVeVptNzFnZz09

 

  • If you have never used zoom.com or have not logged on in a while, please log in with the link to update and/or test that you can access the virtual room. You can test access into the room at any time.

 

  • On the day of the meeting, there will be a person available in the zoom room at 15:10 (South Africa time) to help you with any tech problems. If you have trouble joining on the day of the meeting, please do what’s app Mias Nortier (27 83 739 5323) or Kevin Chau (1 608 556 1749); “1” for Chau is the USA country code # and “27” for Nortier is the S. African country code #.