[b-hebrew] OT- perspective (was Josiah's book of the Law)

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Aug 5 14:17:41 EDT 2005

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>

> I would like to think that a linguist in this case doesn't make any
> a priori assumptions regarding the dates of the documents but
> deduces this dates from linguistic criteria alone. ...
> Yitzhak Sapir

This would work if and only if all languages changed 
according to the same pattern at the same rate. But 
historically, that is not the case with languages where we 
have somewhat accurate models of change based on a large 
corpus of datable materials. From historical records, we 
can see that even the rate of change within a language can 
vary, with some rather major changes occurring within a few 
generations, then remaining largely static for centuries. 
Another problem is that languages change in different ways, 
so that language change patterns in one language cannot be 
a predictor of how a different language will change.

A further problem with Biblical Hebrew is that we have such 
a small corpus with variations so minor that they could be 
individual stylistic usage patterns instead of reflecting 
language changes, in fact those changes are so small that 
some could reflect stylistic changes within a single 
individual's writing as he ages or changes subject matter.

Karl W. Randolph.

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