Identifying linguistic changes by syntactic variation: the case of the Hebrew Bible

Dans le cadre du programme e.philologie PSL (ENC, EPHE, ENS, EHESS) :
Lundi 14 novembre 17-19h, salle Delisle, ENC, rue Richelieu 65, métro Pyramides.

Wido van Peursen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)1.
Identifying linguistic changes by syntactic variation: the case of the Hebrew Bible

The Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer (ETCBC), VU University Amsterdam, has built a richly annotated linguistic database of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament (OT) and explores ways to apply DH methods to investigate old and new questions related to OT studies.
One of those old questions concerns the character of the linguistic diversity in the Old Testament and the best way to account for it. Over the last decades this question has again sparked much interest, leading to a broad range of explanations such as differences in time of origin, genre, dialect, the influence of neighbouring languages, individual styles of the authors, or transmission history. Fierce debates have led to a flow of publications. The significance of many contributions to the debate is tempered by limitations such as a focus on only one or a few of books, methodological presuppositions and a focus on lexical items set phrases or morphosyntactic phenomena.

In the project “Does Syntactic Variation reflect Language Change? Tracing Syntactic Diversity in Biblical Hebrew Texts” (2013–2017), led by Janet W. Dyk and Wido van Peursen, the ETCBC aims to compensate for these limitations by (1) studying the complete Hebrew Bible rather than separate books, (2) focusing on syntax, and (3) analyzing the distribution of phenomena according to a wide range of parameters before interpreting them in terms of language development, genre etc.
The presentation will give a short introduction to questions related to the linguistic diversity in the Hebrew Bible and the methodological choices made in the project. It will further pay due attention to the experiences and challenges one encounters when applying DH methods in Biblical Studies, both methodologically (how does the use of a linguistic database cause shifts in analytical procedures?) and practically (should every PhD student in biblical studies receive a training in Python and R?).

Le séminaire est ouvert à tous, cependant nous vous demandons de vous inscrire en ligne : http://bit.ly/2e1VvU2.

Pour toute information complémentaire, contactez Vanessa Juloux (vanessa.juloux [AT] ephe.sorbonne.fr).

  1. Ce séminaire sera filmé et la communication se fera anglais. []

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