"Is Biblical Hebrew a Language?"
lizfried at umich.edu
Thu Jun 22 10:18:10 EDT 2000
The biblical text witnesses to a language, imo.
Why not call that language Biblical Hebrew?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Charles David Isbell [mailto:cisbell at home.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 8:12 PM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: "Is Biblical Hebrew a Language?"
> In my view, Ullendorf is almost certainly correct. In fact, it
> may be more
> appropriate to speak of biblical Hebrew as a dialect of Canaanite
> than as a
> language proper.
> Charles David Isbell
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ian Hutchesson" <mc2499 at mclink.it>
> To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 5:54 PM
> Subject: "Is Biblical Hebrew a Language?"
> > This is the title of a paper I stumbled across yesterday in BSOAS 31
> > pp.241-255, written by Edward Ullendorf.
> > Ullendorf puts forward a thesis in this paper that the language that we
> > in the Hebrew biblical texts is only a fragment of a language, ie that
> > there was a lot more language than displayed in the biblical texts.
> > His arguments go:
> > 1) there are numerous common words that are probably assumed in the
> > biblical texts, but not found. For example, there is a word "to
> sew" [tpr]
> > and another for "embroidery", but none for needle;
> > 2) there is an extremely high proportion of hapax legomena in the OT/HB:
> > JewEnc lists 1500, while Rabin found 2440 in Loehler's dictionary; given
> > that BH has about 7-8000 words, that's an exceptionally high number of
> > words that have just managed to get into the category of biblical words;
> > 3) many of the hapax legomena are ordinary words such as
> > ship &pynh Jon 1:5
> > medicine trwpt Eze 47:12
> > need zrd 2Chr 2:15
> > blanket $mykh Jdg 4:18
> > He writes: "Books like Ecclesiastes or Daniel or Esther, which gained
> > into the canon of the OT only by the skin of their teeth... contain more
> > than a few elements which we would have termed 'post-biblical' had they
> > accidentally occurred in these writings. What about p$r 'interpretation'
> > which Qohelet 8:1 first uses and which appears nowhere else in the OT --
> > and yet is so central a concept of that period?" He also mentions the
> > abstract ending "-ut" and a few other items, but I think you
> will get the
> > drift of his argumentation: there is a real language hiding
> behind what we
> > see in the biblical Hebrew texts.
> > What do people on the list think of Ullendorf's thesis?
> > Ian
> > ---
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