dwashbur at nyx.net
Tue Jul 30 15:42:39 EDT 2002
> Dear Peter and Liz, et al,
> I believe Jouon-Muraoka is correct. All of the Semitic languages that I
> know make a clear distinction between masculine and feminine singular
> independent pronouns from the earliest evidence we have of them.
I'm not sure what languages you refer to, though I haven't checked
Akkadian. Ugaritic had HW for masculine and HY for feminine, but
the Aramaic inscriptions listed in Donner-Rollig appear to use H) for
both genders, and I couldn't find any examples of these pronouns in
the Phonecian inscriptions from the same volume.
> seem passing strange for Hebrew alone to fail to make this distinction at an
> earlier stage, only to add it rather consistently in later texts. It should
> also be noted that the distinction does in fact occur eleven times in the
> Pentateuch itself.
Indeed it would seem strange, unless Ugaritic was unusual in this
regard whereas ancient Aramaic etc. either didn't make such a
distinction or was somewhat lax in pronunciation. The situation with
ancient Hebrew is apparently less clear, since the pronouns don't
occur in any of the inscriptions of which I am aware.
If we understand the final Alef to be radical rather
> than merely orthographic, presumably the pre-pointed texts would have
> rendered He-Alef for both, and I think this is the spelling found in the
> Mesha` inscription if memory serves.
H) appears 3 times in the Mesha inscription, all apparently with
masculine referents, so here again we don't know the full story.
> Thus the addition of materi lectionis VAV or YOD would be LATE rather than
Agreed about the addition of the ML's. However, the question is
whether they preserve a much earlier pronunciation tradition, or
whether (as Randall Buth suggested to me privately, cited with his
permission) the readings in the Pentateuch arose over confusion of
WAW and YOD, since at times they were written identically (note
this phenomenon in many of the Dead Sea Scrolls). If the latter,
then the phenomenon is essentially meaningless except for the
curious fact that it pretty much only happens in the Torah. If the
former, the phenomenon could conceivably point to a very early date
for the Torah, depending on how early this pronunciation tradition
I fail to see how any of this bears directly on the viability of the
> documentary hypothesis, although I am certain the eye of the individual
> beholder may discern evidence for ideas already closely held.
Ignoring that last jab, virtually every form of the DH says that large
parts of the Pentateuch are either exilic or post-exilic. If the pronoun
phenomenon points to a pre-exilic, perhaps even very ancient,
pronunciation tradition that died out or shifted before the writing of
the prophets and the Deuteronomic History, then the Documentary
Hypothesis essentially falls apart (or at least must be drastically
rewritten so that all sources are pre-exilic and earlier than the
earliest of the writing prophets). If such a theory bears out, it gives
the Mosaic-authorship camp a fair load of ammunition. That's how
the question bears on the Documentary Hippopotamus - uh,
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