The workshop will explore various lexicographical and linguistic issues related to animal names (zoonyms) in the Hebrew Bible within its larger Western Asian context. Animal studies have been the subject of renewed interest recently among biblical scholars, and have the potential to interact with, and even contribute to, several currents in cultural and anthropological studies including (but not restricted to) the deconstruction of traditional approaches to the concept of “nature” (see, e.g., P. Descola), as well as relationships between humans and their environment. However, as in the case of other specialized lexica (like flora or minerals), the study of zoonyms in the Hebrew Bible raises substantial issues and challenges which are often insufficiently considered. In particular, several analyses of zoonyms in the Hebrew Bible rely upon criteria that are methodologically problematic from a lexicographical perspective (such as, e.g., the recourse to etymology), and give too little attention to the specific issues raised by animal classifications in Antiquity. The present workshop will address these and related questions by means of two sessions: the first one will be devoted to key methodological issues and perspectives in the study of zoonyms in the Hebrew Bible; the second will address the topic of zoonyms in metaphors. Both sessions are meant to be complementary, and will include both comparative Western Asian evidence as well as insights from contemporary linguistic theories, especially ethnolinguistics and cognitive linguistics. The workshop will also serve to foster discussion between specialists of animal lexicography in the Hebrew Bible and related Western Asian cultures and other scholars working on topics related to animal studies in the Hebrew Bible (archaeology, iconography, religion, etc.). The workshop will consist of two complementary sessions with invited papers.
Zoonyms, Ancient Lexicography, Animal Metaphors, Ethnobiology