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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Updating BDB

Fri, March 27, 2009 • 10:00 AM • Texas Union Chicano Culture Room (4.206)

Jo Ann Hackett and John Huehnergard plan to create a revision of the standard English dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, the Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament of F. Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs (Oxford 1906). While still the most reliable and most frequently used English dictionary of Hebrew, BDB has also been showing its age for many decades in one of the aspects for which it was most noteworthy, namely, the presentation of cognate information in related Semitic languages -- the information on which, in part at least, the meaning of the Hebrew roots is based. This is the aspect of the dictionary that Hackett and Huehnergard plan to revise most thoroughly.

Before joining the Harvard faculty to teach Biblical Hebrew and Northwest Semitic epigraphy, Prof. Hackett taught in Religious Studies Departments at Occidental College in Los Angeles and at Indiana University. Besides general Old Testament and epigraphy, her research interests have embraced Phoenician language and religion; the period of the Judges; women's lives in the ancient Near East; "fertility" religion; sacrifice, including child sacrifice; the study of myths and mythology; and polemic against foreigners in the ancient Near East. Her introductory grammar of Biblical Hebrew will be published in 2009 by Hendrickson Publishers. John Huehnergard is Professor of Semitic Philology and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His research interests are focused on the historical and comparative grammar of the Semitic languages, especially their morphology and their dialectology. Among the Semitic languages, he concentrates primarily on Akkadian, and secondarily on Ugaritic, ancient Aramaic dialects, classical Hebrew, and classical Ethiopic (Ge'ez). He is also interested in the study of modern Semitic languages (especially modern Ethiopian Semitic and Neo-Aramaic), in ancient Egyptian, in theoretical aspects of comparative and historical linguistics, and in the history of writing and literacy. He teaches courses on Semitic linguistics and various Semitic languages, and on the world’s writing systems.

Sponsored by: Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies


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