“The Biblical Hebrew Beth Essentiae: Predicate Marker”

Bibliographic information:

Boulet, Jacques E. J. “The Biblical Hebrew Beth Essentiae: Predicate Marker.” Journal for Semitics 29, no. 2 (2020): 1-27.


The Biblical Hebrew preposition בְּ has many functions, including one traditionally called the beth essentiae. The standard example is Exod 18:4: כִּֽי־אֱלֹהֵ֤י אָבִי֙ בְּעֶזְרִ֔י “for the God of my father (is) my help.” This linguistic study, supported by cross-linguistic data, analyzes the beth essentiae as a predicate marker. This beth of predication must be distinguished from a copula, since the two have different functions and may cooccur. The paper includes an appendix listing probable attestations of the beth of predication and excluding many cases suggested by other studies. The beth of predication tends to mark anarthrous, nominal predicates, though a few possible cases with adjectival predicates are listed.


Journal for Semitics (website: https://doi.org/10.25159/2663-6573/8019)

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