Linguistic Origins of Hebrew: 1800 BCE?!
Niels Peter Lemche
npl at teol.ku.dk
Fri Sep 8 13:19:30 EDT 2000
1. where do you find that Abraham arrived c. 1800? Not in the HB but in
John Bright alias his master's voice.. Albright. The Bible will place him
ca. around 2300 BCE if you take the chronology there to be serious, but if
you do not, why should accept that Abraham or the tradition about him is
more reliable than the chronology?
2. Canaanite NW Semitic-what is this? a hoax or something we know
8. well, we have Egyptian loanwords in Hebrew-and Semitic loan words in
From: Brian Tucker [SMTP:music at riverviewcog.org]
Sent: Friday, 08 September, 2000 18:04
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: Re: Linguistic Origins of Hebrew: 1800 BCE?!
Sorry for not responding sooner, though others have. Here is a line
of argument for the 1800 BCE for Hebrew:
1. Abraham comes on the scene with some sort of East Semitic
2. Enters a region where Canaanite NW Semitic is spoken.
3. He had to communicate with those in the region, this could
be the beginning of a dialect of NW Semitic.
4. If one dates 1800 BCE for Abraham...;)
5. This dialect continues to develop.
6. Joseph takes it to Egypt. (Don't scream, yet)
7. When they return from Egypt (400 yrs.) they are speaking
some sort of NW Semitic.
8. Side note, no Egyptian influence, why? Because Egyptian is
not a Semitic language.
8.1 There may be some influence: The word for ark may be
similiar to Egyptian word for
8.2 The amount of names of people coming out of Egypt with
8.3 When some things were written in 1447 BCE the language
didn't appear out of the air. now you can scream ;)
Line of argument number 2
1. What was the lingua franca of the Canaanites, Philistines and
There was none as there were no Philistines around 1800 BCE.
Between the people of the Levant, the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians and the
Hittites the lingua franca was in the 2nd mill Accadian-or some sort of.
2. Waltke argues for 1400 BCE as start of Hebrew.
No more evidence than for a date around 1800 or 2000 oe 2300 or 1100
Line of argument number 3 (archaeology)
1. Ketef Hinnom discovery in 1985 that quotes Numbers 6.
Date from, say end of seventh-beginning of 6th century. What
do they prove? That writing was known a millennium before. We knew that.
That Hebrew was known a millennium before, we do not know that.
Besides, Brian, you should pay attention to Ian's comments
about Garbini and philology. He is among the best in that field so he knows
exactly what he is doing. It started with his excellent study from 1960 Il
semitico di nord-ovest (Napoli, Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli,
1960) and contunued ever since, cf. espc. the update Il Semitico
nordoccidentale. Studi di storia linguistica, Roma, Universita degli studi
"La Sapienza", 1988, both indispensable-although of course inaccesible to
most Americans except the Italians who might have other things to do than
2. Tel Dan inscription referring to the House of David.
if it really does. This question has not been settled yet, although
most lay people believe so. and what has this with the problem of Hebrew to
do. It is in Aramaic-or some sort of it.
3. DSS evidence. Did Hebrew develop over night?
From the 1st century BCE, mostly. Does it say anything about Hebrew
1800 years before?
Line of argument number 4
1. Isa. 36-39 referencing the language.
A hike through the history of Hebrew: (The development of Hebrew)
PH - Proto Hebrew
BH - Biblical Hebrew
QH - Qumran Heb CH - Classical Heb LBH -Late Biblical Heb SH
RH - Rabbinic Hebrew
MH - Med. Hebrew
IH - Israeli Hebrew
Riverview, Michigan 48192
jbtucker at metroshores.net <mailto:jbtucker at metroshores.net>
music at riverviewcog.org <mailto:music at riverviewcog.org>
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