BH diachronics and P

Vincent DeCaen decaen at
Mon May 20 08:35:29 EDT 2002

dear friends,

maybe some out there can help me with trying to understand the literature 
on diachronics:

i've been trying to understand why the obvious linguistic developments are 
being ignored to the detriment of a simple and coherent picture. in my 
recent work on nunation, i kept coming across this mental block:  e.g., 
hoftijzer 1985 can't bring himself to recognize the implications of his 
work:  a natural and coherent diachronic sequence.  the problem is that 
this puts P into the latest stratum of the series:  therefore, he has to 
backtrack.  he can't make strong claims and therefore, his results are 
ultimately meaningless, theoretically---in my opinion.

(2) over and over again, the impediment is that parts of the torah would 
be late---too late for the ideology of the researchers.  e.g., hurvitz and 
rendsburg have their own ideas about the development of israelite 
religion.  the priestly source must be the earliest, and at least 
pre-exilic:  regardless of the simple linguistic facts...

(3) the thing that worries me is the simplistic argumentation. take a 
gander at Rendsburg JBL 121.1 (2002). for him it's an either/or, either 
standard BH or late BH, period. no shades, just black and white. he then 
equates late BH with "postexilic" and "persian".  therefore, if genesis 24 
doesn't look like ecclesiastes (postexilic and persian/hellenistic), then 
it cannot be postexilic and persian.  whoa...! am i missing something? and 
is this the best we can do in BH dialectology?

Deeply Puzzled
Dr Vincent DeCaen
Research Associate
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
University of Toronto

Hebrew Syntax Encoding Initiative (HSEI)
Have you heard the one about the accountant?

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