[b-hebrew] Why assume the Masoretes recorded spoken Hebrew?
kwrandolph at email.com
Sun Feb 13 23:24:16 EST 2005
I know people disagree with my conclusions, but these are the conclusions that I have arrived at after looking at the evidence. It doesn't bother me that people disagree with me, after all, that leads to discussion that can improve us all. And a certain amount of the disagreement is theologically based, where we need to understand where the other is coming from and allow the disagreement to stand. Further, one's theological position will often predispose him to notice things that others of other theologies will miss or discount.
Having dealt extensively with immigrants, I now suspect that the returnees from the Babylonian Captivity as a group probably spoke Aramaic better than Hebrew, and probably spoke it on the street and in the home while Hebrew continued to be the language of learning, high literature, religion and official records. After all, it was after at least two generations of daily contact with Aramaic for most Jews. Even though Ezra made an effort to make Hebrew the daily language, even he wrote half his book in Aramaic fully expecting his readers to understand it.
Further, I can see a clear stylistic distinction between the pre-exile and post-exile writing, but that's assuming the traditional dates for the authorship of the books, e.g. there was only one Isaiah, and he wrote well before the exile, that Daniel was totally written by the court official brought to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, etc. I recognize that that's a theological position that others on this list don't share: that's OK, I don't insist that others abandon their theological positions to adopt mine, but we should all be allowed to mention how our theological positions affect our interpretation of Biblical Hebrew language and literary styles.
Karl W. Randolph.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> On 11/02/2005 18:35, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > ...
> >> From what I have seen of the language, I have come to the
> >> following conclusions:
> > ...
> > Finally, this mail list is dedicated to the study of Biblical
> > Hebrew. In view of the above, arguing fine points of Masoretic
> > pronunciations won't help much in the stated goal. Let Peter have
> > the last word.
> Karl, in view of your kind invitation, I shall simply say that it
> is a great improvement that your set of unproven speculations is
> at least preceded by some kind of disclaimer. I do agree with your
> point 1, and perhaps 4, but 2 is exaggerated in time scale and 3 is
> simply confused.
> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
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