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By Mark S. Smith

[The following is the text, without notes, of the introductory matter of this document. For links to the full bibliography, please scroll down]



At present, a beginning course on Ugaritic might use either D. Sivan, A Grammar of the Ugaritic Language (HdO 1/28; Leiden: Brill, 1997), J. L. Cunchillos and J. A. Zamora, Gramática Ugaritica Elemental (Madrid: Ediciones Clásicas, 1995), or J. Tropper, Ugaritisch. Kurzgefasste Grammatik mit Übungstexten und Glossar (Elementa Linguarum Orientis 1; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2002). These books will be joined shortly by Joel H. Hunt and William M. Schniedewind's work, A Primer for Ugarit: Language, Culture and Literature (in preparation), which will be particularly suitable for beginning students. J. Tropper's Ugaritische Grammatik (AOAT 273; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2000) is a research grammar appropriate for advanced courses and research. For an advanced course on Biblical Hebrew, one might consult N. Waldman's reference work, The Recent Study of Hebrew: A Survey of the Literature with Selected Bibliography (Bibliographica Judaica 10; Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1989). Readers will find good bibliography (as well as direction) in B. Waltke and M. P. O'Connor's study, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990). Building on these works and others, this work of mine is offered as a resource for the study of Ugaritic grammar and the grammar of Biblical Hebrew. Although such a bibliography may appear tedious, scholars cannot afford to work in a bibliographical vacuum. The linguist E. H. Sturtevant made this point over five decades ago when he wrote that "a writer who neglects the work of his predecessors and contemporaries is wasting his time and the time of his readers."[1]

I have had misgivings about compiling a bibliography on Ugaritic grammar with bibliography of Biblical Hebrew grammar. After all, Ugaritic is not the only West Semitic source to provide important information for the background of Hebrew (especially "archaic Hebrew" and "classical Hebrew"). Indeed, readers will note from the organization of section one that Ugaritic and Hebrew are preceded by -- and therefore located bibliographically within -- their larger context of general linguistics and Semitics. This bibliography generally reflects the overall weight given to Ugaritic and Biblical Hebrew over and against other West Semitic material; these, too, are included but to a lesser degree. Missing from the listings for the West Semitic corpora is Aramaic, which deserves a treatment in its own right; readers may turn to J. A. Fitzmyer and S. A. Kaufman, ed., An Aramaic Bibliography, Part I: Old, Official, and Biblical Aramaic (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1992).

The weight given to Ugaritic and Biblical Hebrew may be justified based on the relative distribution of texts that currently survive in the West Semitic languages of the second and first millennia. For continuous texts, Ugaritic and Hebrew clearly enjoy a disproportionately superior place among the attested corpora. Readers may find it nonetheless misleading to juxtapose Ugaritic and Hebrew material in parallel sections, as if to suggest that Ugaritic is a direct antecedent to Hebrew. In order to be clear on this point, I would refer to the balanced view expressed by Anson Rainey over thirty years ago:

Ugaritic is not Hebrew; it is not an older stage of Hebrew; it must even be differentiated from the dialect(s) reflected in the Amarna glosses. Its closest relative is undoubtedly Phoenician; but there are marked differences between them. One might agree that Ugaritic is a North-West Semitic language, evidently standing alongside Phoenician, Hebrew, Moabite and the Amarna glosses over against Aramaic.[2]

As this statement suggests, Ugaritic and Hebrew belong to a larger group within the West Semitic languages. As the Ugaritic and Hebrew texts comprise the two largest corpora within this group, comparison of their grammatical features has often proved illuminating despite considerable differences between the two languages. A word about the listing for Hebrew: delineating the boundaries of what constitutes bibliography pertinent to the historical development of biblical Hebrew, or "Hebrew historical grammar," is not always obvious, and what I have provided perhaps tends toward the more inclusive end of the spectrum (with the exceptions of introductory grammars and dictionaries, which are not included here).

In order to make this bibliography more "user friendly," I have presented it in the order of topics found in a grammar. The order here is largely traditional (with the customary division of phonology, morphology and syntax), although since the 1960s linguists have paid a great deal of attention to the interface between these levels of grammar.[3] In section 15, the organization for syntax gives precedence of text linguistics before the syntax of clauses and their subunits, reflecting the current view that the sentence does not constitute the largest unit of grammatical analysis.[4] One might go further and present syntax as theoretically prior to, and the context for, situating morphology, and, by extension, phonology as well; however, the traditional order of grammars is retained here for the sense of familiarity that it affords readers.

I have included bibliography for the alphabet (under section 2), although properly speaking the alphabet is not a grammatical topic but a matter of the graphic representation of languages.[5] However, the alphabet's historical importance for the study of West Semitic languages dictates its inclusion here. I have included some entries for Hebrew phonology or morphology with little or no mention of Ugaritic, in part to be more inclusive in these areas and in part to promote such work in the study of Ugaritic. Also included are entries for the syntax of particles (under 9.2) and for the verb (under 10.2.1) as well as some select individual verbal roots (under 14.11 and following). The bibliography in section 16 includes both basic and illustrative entries in the areas of lexicography, loanwards and semantics as well as personal names, but listings for dictionaries and lexica for Biblical Hebrew have not been included.[6] As this discussion and the many entries in 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 illustrate (not to mention specific references in many other sections), the study of ancient Hebrew has benefited from the application of modern linguistics more than Ugaritic. The borders between some areas of grammar and other subjects are not always simple to delineate. For example, some bibliography for grammatical aspects of Hebrew poetry are included (word-order and semantics), but other aspects of Hebrew poetry are not. Some entries are listed more than once when they pertain to multiple grammatical topics. Standard abbreviations have been used (see the list in the final section of this introduction); these are found also in Ugarit-Forschungen and Journal of Biblical Literature).

This bibliography is not comprehensive. As a work in progress, it contains omissions and mistakes. Moreover, some of terms or words in foreign language fonts as well as some diacritical marks have not come through. I trust that the contexts where these terms or words appear will indicate what foreign words (mostly in Hebrew) they refer to. For words spelled in Hebrew I have substituted English spellings in square brackets. As a result of working on this project at different times, I have produced other inconsistencies of format as well. I hope to correct these flaws in future revisions; in the meantime, I hope this bibliography will nonetheless serve the field.

Origins and Acknowledgments

This bibliography originated in the early 1980s during my studies at Yale University. In the summer of 1981, Marvin Pope hired me to produce a general bibliography regarding Ugaritic mythological texts. The following year Robert R. Wilson put into my hands a basic bibliography for a reading course on Hebrew historical grammar that he had inherited from his own teacher at Yale, S. Dean McBride. Professor Wilson's bibliography as well as the bibliographical learning gained under Professor Pope were useful later for courses that I offered. I have also found it useful to maintain the bibliography as a resource for my own research and for course readings. A couple of years ago I made this bibliography available to interested scholars and students in the form of xerox copies. At that time, it was suggested to me that this bibliography should be published. Despite the flaws of this edition and despite some misgivings, I have decided to proceed with this e-version so that the bibliography can be made more widely available.

I am indebted in particular to the students who went through courses with me. The bibliography was advanced through the labors of the interlibrary office of Drexel Library of Saint Joseph's University. I am grateful also to the Simor Bible Bibliographical Computer Service, which provided me with a printout of its listings for Ugarit and Ugaritic. A number of colleagues kindly provided help with references: Professors S. A. Fassberg, J. Huehnergard, T. Muraoka, F. H. Polak, G. A. Rendsburg and G. Rubio. John Huehnergard generously shared his bibliography with me. I thank Charles E. Jones, Research Archivist and Bibliographer, and Thomas G. Urban, Senior Editor, both of the Oriental Institute, for their time and energy in preparing this work for the web.




[1] Sturtevant, An Introduction to Linguistic Science (New Haven/London: Yale, 1947) 2 (cited by A. Hurvitz, "The Relevance of Biblical Hebrew Linguistics for the Historical Study of Ancient Israel," Proceedings of the Twelfth World Congress of Jewish Studies. Division A: The Bible and Its World [Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1999] 24* n. 6).

[2] Rainey, "Observations on Ugaritic Grammar," UF 3 (1971) 153 (Rainey's italics).

[3] For example, see E. Benveniste, "Les niveaux de l'analyse linguistique," Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguists, Cambridge, Mass., August 27-21, 1962 (ed. H. G. Lunt; Janua Linguarum, series maior XII; London/The Hague/Paris: Mouton, 1964) 266-75, with responses on 275-93; and J. Kurylowicz, "The Notion of Morpho(pho)neme," Directions for Historical Linguistics: A Symposium (ed. W. P. Lehmann and Y. Malkiel; Austin/London: University of Texas, 1968) 65-81.

[4] See the response of K. Pike to E. Benveniste, "Les niveaux de l'analyse linguistique," Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguists, Cambridge, Mass., August 27-21, 1962 (ed. H. G. Lunt; Janua Linguarum, series maior XII; London/The Hague/Paris: Mouton, 1964) 266-75, on p. 283. See more recently J. Joosten, "The Indicative System of the Biblical Hebrew Verb and Its Literary Exploitation," Narrative Syntax and the Hebrew Bible: Papers of the Tilburg Conference 1996 (ed. E. van Wolde; Biblical Interpretation Series 29; Leiden: Brill, 1997) 54; M. O'Connor, "Discourse Linguistics and the Study of Biblical Hebrew," Congress Volume: Basel 2001 (ed. A. Lemaire; VTSup 92; Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2002) 26.

[5] See the response of J. Lee to J. V. Walsh, "Linguistic Factors in the Evolution of the Alphabet," Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguists, Cambridge, Mass., August 27-29, 1962 (ed. H. G. Lunt; Janua Linguarum, series maior XII; London/The Hague/Paris: Mouton, 1964) 519-20.

[6] For recent discussions, see M. O'Connor, "Semitic Lexicography: European Dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew in the Twentieth Century," IOS 20 (2002) = Semitic Linguistics: The State of the Art at the Turn of the 21st Century (ed. S. Izre'el; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2002) 173-212; and G. J. Van Steenbergen, "Hebrew Lexicography and Worldview: A Survey of Some Lexicons," JSem 12/2 (2003) 268-313.

This first on-line version is presented courtesy of the Research Archives at the Oriental Institute, the University of Chicago.

The full text of the bibliography is available in three formats.




First published on-line: May 12, 2004
Revised: May 6, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Oriental Institute, University of Chicago