[b-hebrew] exodus, dating of linguistics

Michael Abernathy mabernathy at isot.com
Sat May 29 15:38:34 EDT 2004

I admit that there is more conformity to a written language; however, in the
English language you continue to find a great deal of diversity in spelling
until Webster published a standard dictionary for us to use. I believe you
also find that the written language varied considerably until we had the
standards of Shakespeare, the printed Bible, and finally a printed grammar.
Prior to these, the written language reflected the dialect.  Even now,
regional differences can be seen in both written and spoken English.  For
example, a small region of southern Ohio refers to the rear storage
compartment of a car as a "boot."  Almost everywhere else in the country, it
is a "trunk."  I believe it is the same area of the country that universally
calls every soft drink a "pop."  Their neighbors to the east and the west
refer to it as a "soda" or a "soda pop."  Given any isolation in time or
geography, I expect that we should find that locals used a different
vocabulary and when they used the same words spelled those words
phonetically according to the local pronunciation.
Michael Abernathy
I am ready to believe that the Hebrew Bible helped them develop a consistent
use for the language.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
To: "Michael Abernathy" <mabernathy at isot.com>
Cc: "B-Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2004 9:43 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] exodus, dating of linguistics

> On 29/05/2004 08:02, Michael Abernathy wrote:
> ><Uri
> > Only in personal names is there internal linguistic evidence in the HB
that something new started with the Moses narratives (Alt). . . >
> >If I correctly understand what you are saying, you are implying a
remarkable degree of unity within the Hebrew language.  Let me explain my
thought.  I once saw a study English dialects within 20 miles of London in
the same time period.  Not only were over a dozen dialects found, but some
of those dialects were barely recognizable as English.  It is my
understanding that this kind of conformity is very rare and implies that
either a single editor or school of editors corrected the entire text of the
Hebrew Bible to a single standard, or that the earliest  Scriptures were the
standard used by all later writers, or that the entirety of the Hebrew Bible
was written in a very short period and in a very small geographical region.
None of these explanations seems very satisfactory to me.  I should think
that the first explanation would anticipate the kind of scribal errors I
suggested. The second is hard for me to swallow when I look at the Hebrew of
the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The third seems unlikely because I find it difficult
to believe that the entire Hebrew race would be fooled into believing that a
Bible they never heard of was the same one used by their ancestors.  Am I
overlooking something?
> >Sincerely,
> >Michael Abernathy
> >
> >
> >
> One thing you are overlooking, Michael, is the distinction between
> spoken and written language. If you look at *written* texts produced
> within 20 miles of London, or indeed anywhere in England, you will find
> in the great majority of them a considerable uniformity, and a gradual
> change over time. That is because all educated writers usually used a
> rather standardised form of the language, with only occasional use of
> dialect words and forms. We see the same picture in the Hebrew Bible:
> the unformity of a standardised written language, with occasional
> dialect variation and some gradual long-term changes.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/

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