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BOOK NOTICES 477 kind employed by Ramchand and by Ritter and Rosen and is representative of a general 'constructional ' approach to lexical meaning employed by researchers working in a range of frameworks. The remaining six papers in the volume are not as thematically unified as the first group. In 'Strong and weak projection: Lexical reflexives and reciprocals' K. P. Mohanan and Tara Mohanan investigate the extent to which lexical semantics determines argument structure, employing reflexive and reciprocal data from Kannada, Malay, Hebrew, and English. They conclude that argument projection is constrained though not fully determined by semantic content and thus cannot be solely under the purview of linking constraints that are blind to the content of a particular predicate. Eloise Jelinek ('Voice and transitivity as functional projections in Yaqui') argues that argument projection in the Uto-Aztecan language, Yaqui, is controlled by syntactic heads Voice(P) and Transitivity (P), which introduce arguments in their specifier positions. Veerle van Geenhoven ('On the argument structure of some noun incorporating verbs in West Greenlandic') presents a semantically-based analysis of a subset of West Greenlandic noun incorporation data, claiming that an incorporated noun is not linked to its modifiers by syntactic derivation. Paul Kiparsky ('Partitive case and aspect') investigates the functions and interpretation of Finnish partitive case and shows that its role in determining verbal aspect is dependent upon its diachronic reanalysis as a structural case. Finally, Ad Neeleman and Tanya Reinhart ('Scrambling and the PF interface') address the thorny issue of conditions on so-called 'scrambling', focusing on data from Dutch. They advocate the view that scrambled word order in OV languages is base generated and arises from casechecking requirements that may be met in either syntactically or prosodically defined domains. Overall, this collection is well worth reading, particularly for the crosslinguistically wide ranging body of data examined and for the broad theoretical perspectives advocated. [Michael Dukes, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.] Black fire on white fire: An essay on Jewish hermeneutics, from Midrash to Kabbalah. By Betty Rojtman. Trans, by Steven Rendall. (Contraversions: Critical studies in Jewish literature, culture , and society 10.) Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Pp. xii, 194. Originally published in French as Feu noir surfeu blanc in 1986 (Lagrasse: Editions Verdier), this book by Betty Rojtman masterfully uses semiotic theory to analyze Jewish methods of interpreting the Bible from early rabbinic Midrash to modern mystical Kabbalah. R focuses on the hermeneutic principles regarding the Hebrew demonstrative, zeh (fem. zot) 'this'. In terms of contemporary linguistics, 'this' is a deictic—a mobile sign simultaneously defined and undefined whose reference must be «specified in each context of discourse. In terms of Jewish exegetical conventions, 'this' expresses the dialectic in the kabbalistic structuring of the world and refers to both an existential reality and a larger sacred one. R explains the sense of zeh as wholly deictic as opposed to the other biblical Hebrew demonstrative, hu (fern, hi') 'that', which is anaphoric. In this, she cites a work of Konrad Ehlich, Verwendungen der Deixis beim sprachlichen Handeln: linguistisch-philosophische Untersuchungen zum Hebräischen deiktischen System (Frankfurt-am-Main: Peter Lang, 1979), which seems not to have received much attention from Hebraists. R builds her case through five chapters by using many examples from the midrashic and kabbalistic sources that demonstrate the four levels of exegesis: Peshat, Remez, Derash, and Sod (the literal, allusive, parabolic, and anagogic readings). The first three levels of reading reflect the textual-linguistic dimension bound by the grammatical, semantic, and other strictures of the text and are fundamentally opposed to the anagogic or mystical reading, Sod, which corresponds to an ' ' 'absolute' ' register of signification' taken from among the 'necessary values that founded the world' (68) and which is not subject to such strictures . R concludes, however, that the Kabbalah integrates its contrastive readings by viewing the biblical discourse as a metatext nominalizing or hypostatizing each word, giving each a coded correspondence back to the spiritual spheres (the Sephiroth) that compose the universe and redefining that word in the linguistic system. In this way the textual presuppositions and the conventional continuously interplay to connect the truths of the text with cosmic truths. The demonstrative zeh is the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
p. 477
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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