peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Fri Dec 31 01:27:28 EST 1999

I have heard that this important point about Daniel, also Esther which 
cannot be earliier than the Persian period, can be explained by 
describing the Hebrew of these two books as archaising. Note that it 
is possible to write books in an archaising style when there already 
exists a body of texts in the style being imitated. (Plenty of people 
today are able to speak and write more or less in the style of the 
King James Bible, though they do it only in religious contexts.) It is 
much harder to write a whole body of texts in a consistent made-up 
style, and even more so to make that style conform to a few ancient 
inscriptions. As for your idea of a socio-dialect, it is not 
impossible, but how come it was so well preserved for many centuries 
and then suddenly died out? And how do you account for the 
transitional nature of LBH, and that its use in history books is 
restricted to those which must be post-exilic?

So we have a self-consistent scenario in which Genesis-Kings are 
written (or revised) in the First Temple period, and Esther and Daniel 
are written later but in archaising style to imitate these histories. 
Do you accept this as a possible scenario? Do you have any other one 
which explains the linguistic evidence? (Thank you for your detailed 
examination of the language of the inscriptions.)

Peter Kirk

PS I think it was me rather than you who was confused by the 
abbreviation DH.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[3]: historiography
Author:  <npl at teol.ku.dk> at Internet
Date:    30/12/1999 15:08


     The Hebrew of the HB is different from the kind of Middle Hebrew we
find in the DSS, but not all of it (Songs, Qohelet and a few more places). 
Daniel, is as far as the Hebrew sections are concerned also biblical Hebrew 
(mostly), and since I am no other serious scholar have no intention of 
discussing  date for this book that predates the 2nd century BCE, it says 
that people could write in biblical Hebrew as late as the 2nd century BCE. 
We seems to speak about a language that has to do with a genre of literature 
(which would -- by the way -- be a help to people who argue for a special 
status of the HB books included in the Hebrew Bible). I.e. a kind of 
socio-dialect. Siloam is closer to biblical Hebrew, but Mesha's language 
seems further removed. For a good study of the language of Mesha see the 
article by Kent Jackson in Dearman, Studies in the Mesha Inscription and 
Moab, Atlanta 1989, and of course the comprerhensive commentary in KAI 


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