The second column (secunda) of Origen's Hexapla in light of Greek pronunciation




Kantor, Benjamin Paul

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This dissertation addresses the phonology and orthography of the second column (Secunda) of Origen's (185–254 ce) Hexapla, which constitutes a Greek transcription of Biblical Hebrew. The transcription text is analyzed in light of its Hellenistic/Roman Near Eastern background, the phonology and orthography of Roman Palestinian Koine Greek, and roughly contemporary Greek transcription conventions for other languages. Aside from the brief introduction (chapter 1) and conclusion (chapter 7), this dissertation is comprised of five substantial chapters. Chapters 2 and 3 address the historical and social background of the text of the Secunda. In chapter 2, I argue that Origen did not have enough Hebrew knowledge to compose the text himself. In chapter 3, on the basis of comparative evidence from the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Near East, I argue that the Secunda originated among the Jewish scholarly community of Caesarea as a didactic aid in the second or third century ce. Chapters 4 and 5 address the linguistic background of the text of the Secunda. Chapter 4, based on a thorough analysis of the epigraphic evidence from ancient Palestine, provides a reconstruction of contemporary Greek pronunciation. Chapter 5, based on a linguistic analysis of comparative transcription material, surveys typical Greek transcription conventions from roughly the same period. Chapter 6 applies the data from the previous sections to the Hebrew vocalization tradition reflected in the text of the Secunda, addressing the phonemic and phonetic value of the consonants, vowels, and shewa as well as the syllable structure. Methodologically, the phonology and orthography of Secunda Hebrew are approached from the perspective of historical (Hebrew) linguistics, Greek pronunciation and orthography, linguistic studies on cross-language perception, and moraic phonology.


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