Abstract

The status of the third person pronoun as a third element in verbless clauses has been a much studied issue in the history of Biblical Hebrew syntax. As with most intriguing grammatical phenomena, scholarly opinion on this issue has shifted considerably over the last century or more. While the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed adherents to both copular and non-copular analyses for the ‘pleonastic’ pronoun in the so-called tripartite verbless clause, the second half of the twentieth century saw a consensus emerge, influenced particularly by the arguments of eminent scholars like Muraoka and Goldenberg: there was no pronominal copula in Biblical Hebrew. In this paper we argue that this position does not adequately account for the data from linguistic typology or comparative Semitics and does not reflect a sensitive reading of the discourse context of many biblical examples.

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