Premodern Philosophic and Scientific Hebrew Terminology in Context

An Online Thesaurus The "PESHAT in Context" long-term project aims at the systematic study of the emergence and development of the philosophic and scientific terminology of premodern Hebrew in its cultural and historical context. The result of this undertaking will be an innovative multilingual online thesaurus, where each Hebrew term is accompanied by explanations, definitions and extensive quotations from a vast array of Hebrew sources that document its precise usage. Together with detailed background information, including geographical and chronological data, the exact circumstances in which a term was formed are highlighted.

Hebrew philosophical and scientific literature emerged as a result of a cultural transfer, with texts being translated into Hebrew from Arabic or Latin, and from Hebrew into Latin. This multilingual and multicultural background will be documented in the database through the addition of parallel quotations in these languages, rendering the PESHAT database into an indispensable tool in the comparative study of terminology on a linguistic and historic basis.

Since the appropriation of knowledge from the Arabic world and from Latin Europe by Jewish culture between the 10th and 15th centuries happened in different "waves" of literary activity, the leading principle of our working method will be to investigate each of these historical phases separately, focusing on its distinct historical and cultural characteristics. This research will yield the publication of monographic studies and collections of papers on each of these historical phases.

The PESHAT database provides unprecedented technical means for the storage and organization of lexicographical information about Hebrew terms. In addition to the rich multilingual textual basis provided for each entry, the database contains references to equivalent terms in Arabic, Latin, Greek, as well as in English, French and German. Furthermore, each author and translator, and each work referred to are documented in detail in the database. Cross-references allow for a qualified acquisition, organization and processing of data according to various criteria, such as term, author, work, time, place, subject etc.