Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Comparative Dialectical Study of Genitive Constructions in Aramaic Translations of Exodus

Meyer, Mark. A Comparative Dialectical Study of Genitive Constructions in Aramaic Translations of Exodus

The purpose of this book is to "mine the gold" in multiple Aramaic translations of the biblical book of Exodus. The pages within reveal important similarities and differences between five Aramaic dialects in the use of genitive constructions: Targum Onkelos, the Syriac Peshitta, three corpora of the Palestinian Targum, the Samaritan Targum, and fragments of a Christian Palestinian Aramaic translation of Exodus.

The book argues that there are three primary Aramaic genitive constructions that translate the construct phrase in Hebrew: the construct phrase, the genitive adjunct phrase with d-, and the genitive phrase with d- anticipated by a possessive suffix on the head noun (cataphoric construction). One important finding is that all the Aramaic dialects, except Samaritan Aramaic, use the adjunct genitive construction when the second member denotes the material composition of the first member.

It appears that the later the writing, the larger the percentage of adjunct genitive constructions and cataphoric genitive constructions. Regarding geography, since P has the lowest percentage of construct genitive constructions (with the exception of CPA), there may be a tendency to use more adjunct genitive constructions and cataphoric genitive constructions in Eastern Aramaic than in Western Aramaic. 

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