On the meaning of 'Greek Passage' in Biblical Hebrew: Between summoning witnesses and imposing oaths

Orit Malka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The verb 'Greek Passage' in Biblical Hebrew is understood by most scholars primarily within the semantic field of 'Greek Passage', "witness."However, many of its biblical occurrences do not befit this reading. These were interpreted according to the context, as bearing the meaning of: "to warn,""to assure,""to command."Explaining the connection between all aspects of the verb poses a challenge. The present paper argues that all these meaning are in fact interrelated: they all derive from the meaning of 'Greek Passage' (and the verbal phrase 'Greek Passage') as implying the imposition of an oath. Oaths are based on the summoning of divine witnesses as guarantors of the sworn undertakings. Convocation of witnesses thus became associated with oaths, and consequently 'Greek Passage' developed a secondary meaning of imposing an oath. Understanding the verb 'Greek Passage' as implying the imposition of an oath will reconcile the various meanings attributed to this verb, and unveil the internal links between them.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalVetus Testamentum
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2021.

Keywords

  • Oath
  • Testimony
  • Witnesses

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