Diachronic study (was Purpose for discussion)
furuli at online.no
Sat Feb 19 12:06:12 EST 2000
Ian Hutchesson wrote,
>At 16.29 19/02/00 +0100, Rolf Furuli wrote:
>> Let me illustrate this further with the Aramaic of Daniel. Zdravko
>>Stefanovic,1992, "The Aramaic of Daniel in the Light of Old
>>Aramaic",Sheffield:JSOT Press, draws the conclusion that the Aramaic of
>>Daniel "contains a significant amount of material from OA /Old Aramaic/
>>texts." (p 108). This accords with my own study of this text, and I would
>>go so far as to say no word or structure in the Aramaic of Daniel (not even
>>the musical instruments with names of possibly Grteek origin) demand a
>>dating contrary to what the book itself claims.
>What do you think of Garbini's comments on the Aramaic then of both Daniel
>and Ezra (as I have translated his article on my website)?
>>However, most researchers would ascribe a date for the book to about 165
>>BCE. To solve the discrepancy with the seemingly old age of the Aramaic
>>text, two suggestions are given, (1) The author mimicked Old/Imperial
>>Aramaic to lend credence to his prophecies which actually are history in
>This is Garbini's conclusion.
>>and (2) A part of the book is quite old, but the final
>>redaction took place in the middle of the second century BCE.
>Which part of the book is quite old, if the last six chapters are all
>related to Antiochus IV, the prophesy in Ch2 is Seleucid/Ptolemaic in
>reference, and there are historical inaccuracies regarding the various
>>that what is believed to be history often clash with linguistic evidence,
>>as also Greg showed.
Thank you for translating this article and calling my attention to it (Is
it possible to get the footnotes?). Garbini has a vast knowledge of
Semitics, and his arguments should allways be considered seriously.
However, in my view he does not succeed well in this article. Stefanovic
discusses 54 phrases and 9 other peculiarities in Daniel that also are
found in the old inscriptions - thus giving positive evidence for his
conclusion that the Aramaic of Daniel is old. Garbini discusses 5 (if I
counted correctly) phrases of Daniel which he views to be young, and which,
according to him, could not have existed in Persian times - this is
evidence from silence. The book of Daniel dates the Aramaic visions and
accounts to the 6th and 5th century BCE. If we are discussing the age of
Daniel exclusively from a *linguistic* point of view, we neither should
reject nor doubt this dating on historical grounds, but only ask for
linguistic evidence. Apart from Egypt (Elephantine) the material is scarce,
and this makes Garbini's conclusions quite speculative. One Hebrew example
showing the problems with such arguments from silence, is the relative
particle $ which has raplaced the biblical Hebrew )$R in Mishnaic Hebrew.
This particle, however, is found in what is believed to be the oldest part
of the Tanach, and following the line of Garbinis arguments this would make
the song of Deborah a very young part of the Tanach and not one of the
Going from language to history, I would say that I find the interpretations
of those defending the historicity of Daniel more convincing than those who
find inaccuracies, and the relationship with Antiochus IV is greatly
exaggerated (I can imagine that you, on the basis of your vast historical
knowledge, jump in your chair when you read these words, but this is my
University of Oslo
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