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The Invention of Hebrew
by Seth L. Sanders
About The Book
The Invention of Hebrew is the first book to approach the Bible in light of recent findings on the use of the Hebrew alphabet as a deliberate and meaningful choice. Seth L. Sanders connects the Bible’s distinctive linguistic form — writing down a local spoken language — to a cultural desire to speak directly to people, summoning them to join a new community that the text itself helped call into being. Addressing the people of Israel through a vernacular literature, Hebrew texts gained the ability to address their audience as a public. By comparing Biblical documents with related ancient texts in Hebrew, Ugaritic, and Babylonian, this book details distinct ways in which Hebrew was a powerfully self-conscious political language. Revealing the enduring political stakes of Biblical writing, The Invention of Hebrew demonstrates how Hebrew assumed and promoted a source of power previously unknown in written literature: “the people” as the protagonist of religion and politics.
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