linguistic minimalism, finis (for now...)

Vincent DeCaen decaen at
Thu Mar 8 13:42:00 EST 2001

dear friends,

i'm now in the home stretch of the job search here, and i'll probably
maintain radio silence soon, very soon...... but in the meantime.

this is a programme, not a theory, not conclusions, but a programme. so i
don't have answers, yet, to how ezra patterns with 2 chronicles (but
hopefully, the answers will start coming in soon). i don't know about
jonah (though have done some interesting work on the pentameter in jonah
2). the jury's out on she- vs asher right now....

i can now talk a little more, because a very rough draft of the programme
with a few worked examples is now in print (a collection of papers from
departmental symposia), the paper is still steaming from the press. ;-)

so here're some initial results, yet to be confirmed, etc, etc.

(a) strata

so far, i have five clear strata (vs the old two: early vs late). i'm
using datable milestones to attach approximate dates (* indicates the bulk
of the book)

stratum I	ca 700 -	amos, 1st isaiah	*kings
stratum II	ca 600 -	jeremiah, ezekiel	*deuteronomy
stratum III	ca 500 -	*zechariah		*gen-exodus
stratum IV	400+ ?		job?			numbers+gen/exod
stratum V	?		ecclesiastes		*ezra-nehemiah
stratum ?	?		qimron's DSS grammar

i'm using fine variations, considered marginal, and hitherto unstudied in
any rigorous fashion: verbal morphology, variants of pronominals, etc.

programme: three volumes (morphological, lexical, syntactic) using the
computer to create a "dialect geography" of the biblical text... time to
completion: 2-3 years.

to michael's question, what would this prove? well, i guess we'd have to
give the same answer archaeologists and historians give... but a rigorous
historical dialectology would be an important contribution all the same.
of course, time of composition is logically independent of value and
historicity of sources, etc.  i think, e.g., that chronicles has some
historical gems, despite its putative time of composition.....

Dr Vincent DeCaen     <decaen at>
c/o Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, 4 Bancroft Ave., 2d floor
University of Toronto, Toronto ON, CANADA, M5S 1A1

Hebrew Syntax Encoding Initiative,
Love work. Hate authority.  --Shemaiah, from Avot

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list