"Late" Biblical Hebrew

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at gmx.de
Tue Nov 16 18:32:17 EST 1999


I am wondering what people who hold to the traditional datings of the corpus of LBH 
do to support their positions. For instance, how do those who believe that Solomon 
wrote Ecclesiates and Song of Songs look at the unique language of those books? 
The liberal community would call them "late". What to the traditionalists do?

Is there a certain unity in the language of the "late" books that are agreed upon being 
late, such as Chronicles and Esther which cannot be reconciled with a certain unity 
between the books of Ecclesiates and Song of Songs (if indeed any of these books 
have such a unity).

I am aware that LBH is hardly a unified language, and that Chronicles and Job are 
quite different. How do the liberals account for such differences in the language of the 
various "late" books if their explanation for everything is that they share a common 
time frame?

Could a possible explanation be that certain of the OT books were translated from 
other semitic languages into Hebrew at an exilic/post-exilic date? Could Job have 
been translated from the Edomite of the supposed environment of Job or the South 
West Semitic of Jethro into Hebrew at about the same time that Ecclesiastes and 
Song of Solomon were translated from an Aramaic or other North West Semitic 
dialect, say during the reform of Esra, thereby explaining the many differences among 
these books while accounting for the many later features. Of course such an idea 
would have to be supported by a common language of the "late" works of Solomon, 
and Esra, Nehemia, Chronicles, and perhaps Esther would have to be of a very similar 
language.

Can someone tell me of the Hebrew sections of Daniel? It is claimed to be one of the 
last books of the bible, but to my knowledge, the Hebrew is not too "late" in 
appearance. Am I correct here? Can someone give me a decent overview of Daniel's 
Hebrew in terms of the diachronic scale? Or perhaps other idiosyncracies of it?




Jonathan Bailey
MA Kandidat
Hochschule für Jüdische Studien
Heidelberg



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