deuteronomy, liz, response

Giuseppe Regalzi regalzi at
Sun Mar 11 06:20:19 EST 2001

>I would surmise that after a certain date copyists took extreme
>care not to modernise the orthography, perhaps because they
>developed a very high view of Scripture, that no letter may be
>changed. This is in fact more than a surmise, for we know that
>later on such a view was held, and we also know that the texts
>were not all modernised to orthographic uniformity. I won't try
>to speculate on dates, though the name Ezra springs to mind.

That "certain date" is surely later than Ezra (or Nehemiah): just
think of the shorter recension of Jeremiah, in Qumran mss and in
the LXX (an official version made by Jews!); or consider the big
minuses in the greek version of Samuel, and the pluses in
4QSam(a); or a ms such as 11QPs(a). The scribes were actively
modifing their texts well past the beginning of the second century
BC, but it doesn't seem they were much concerned about linguistic
modernization -- at least not in a systematic fashion: had it been
otherwise, the texts would show a higher degree of uniformity than
they actually do.

My point is the following: if Deuteronomy (or any other book) can
be consistently dated both on linguistic (if Vincent is right) and
on historical grounds (e.g. the connection with Josiah's reform),
then the burden of proof is on anyone who questions this dating by
invoking a purely conjectural linguistic update: adfirmanti
incumbit probatio, to use a nice latin formula...



Giuseppe Regalzi
Via dei Velieri, 83
00121 ROMA RM
regalzi at
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