[b-hebrew] Yahwism (was: their altar)

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Mar 17 21:08:03 EST 2005


----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>

> On 15/03/2005 08:46, Karl Randolph wrote:
> > ... So when the returnies from the Exile made Hebrew the language 
> > of religion, legal and high literature, they froze the spelling 
> > (in so far as there were spelling rules) to that which was used 
> > in the oldest and most important books. In fact, this is one of 
> > the evidences I see for my claim that the returnies from the 
> > Exile were no longer native speakers of Hebrew (Ezra's efforts 
> > notwithstanding).
> >
> >
> I agree with your method of arguing here, but come to the opposite 
> conclusion because the data is opposite. In fact, it is clear from 
> the DSS than Hebrew spelling was not frozen soon after the exile, 
> but remained fluid right through the Second Temple period. For 
> there are significant and consistent differences betwen DSS, 
> Mishnaic and Masoretic Hebrew e.g. DSS and Mishnaic Hebrew rather 
> consistently use a silent alef to mark a long A vowel, but the 
> Masoretic text never does. And, by your argument, this is evidence 
> that Hebrew remained a natively spoken language right through the 
> Second Temple period.
Thanks for the clarification.

The data I was working from is the consonental text preserved in the MT. In that textual tradition the spelling seems more regular post-Exile than shortly pre-Exile.

Which brings up the question: with the intermediate freer spellings evidenced during the Second Temple period, why was the stricter spelling preserved in the MT? Does the MT preserve what was the scholarly edition, as opposed to the quick and dirty popular editions that happened to be preserved at Qumran?

Karl W. Randolph.
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