[b-hebrew] Hebrew - dialect of canaanite
dwashbur at nyx.net
dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Jun 28 20:15:56 EDT 2006
On 28 Jun 2006 at 23:47, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> On 6/28/06, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > But the historicity of the text is a legitimate
> > linguistic question. While for purposes of this
> > discussion we don't have to agree on historicity,
> > it has a bearing on how we interpret historical
> > data and how Hebrew compares to cognate languages.
> No, it does not. Hebrew can be compared and
> contrasted to cognate languages irrespective of
> whether one accepts Biblical historical claims or
> one's position on Biblical historicity. This is
> because the comparison of cognate languages is
> a process that takes into account purely linguistic
> features, and has no place for any historical
> claim of any kind. Using Biblical historical
> claims as if they have a bearing on such a
> comparison is simply wrong.
Actually, it does have a bearing. The most common claim made by those who reject the
historicity of certain people, places and events is that the texts are "late." Using that basis,
comparison to cognate languages such as Ugaritic and Akkadian, and sometimes even
Aramaic and Moabite, becomes an implicit or explicit comparison of "early" languages
versus the "late" Hebrew, and virtually all differences between Hebrew and its cognates are
explained this way. But if the people, places and events are historical, then either the "late"
authors drew on earlier accounts and incorporated them, including various facets of the
earlier language of those accounts, or the texts themselves are early and reflect a Hebrew
that is much older than previously thought. The assumed date of the text and language is
going to have a bearing on how linguists like us interpret the comparative data, there's no
way around it. So on this point, Karl is correct.
Encephaloriasis: That condition generated when the person you are dealing with is so
incredibly stupid, you can actually feel your own brain cells drying up and flaking off.
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