[b-hebrew] Hebrew - dialect of canaanite

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Jun 28 12:56:10 EDT 2006


Yitzhak:

Please do not take me incorrectly, I do not mean 
this to be a pejorative term.

Further, it is a matter of relativeness: while you 
may be considered a maximalist compared to extreme 
minimalists, you are a minimalist compared to my 
position. And my position is shared by several on 
this discussion forum.

Part of the dispute was the Chris wrote "Lingua 
Franca of the Israelites" which you quite correctly 
pointed out was Akkadian, Hebrew among the 
Israelites and Canaanite were local languages.

But the historicity of the text is a legitimate 
linguistic question. While for purposes of this 
discussion we don't have to agree on historicity, 
it has a bearing on how we interpret historical 
data and how Hebrew compares to cognate languages.

It has been pointed out elsewhere (not on this 
forum that I know of) that from the genealogies 
that Melchizedek mentioned in Genesis 14 could have 
been Shem, son of Noah, born before the flood. If 
so, it is hard to imagine that he would not have 
had a very conservative influence on the local 
languages (people wanting to speak like the great 
sage). I put this forward as an example of how 
one's interpretation of the historicity of Tanakh 
influences how we interpret historical linguistic 
data.

So from an "extreme maximalist" ;-)  please don't 
take "labels" too seriously.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
> 
> On 6/28/06, Karl Randolph wrote:
> 
> > You have heard from the minimalists, now for
> > another side of the story.
> 
> There is nothing "minimalistic" about what I wrote.  I
> think even Yigal cannot be counted a "minimalist."  In
> my view, the "maximalist" position, is one that views the
> Exodus and Patriarchal narratives as possible events
> even if without evidence in the archaeological record, and
> the Davidic/Solomonic United Kingdom as very likely
> events.  Labels get us nowhere, however.  I presented
> only linguistic evidence, which should be counted as
> facts rather than a position either way on Biblical
> Historicity.
> 
> While the linguistic evidence may strongly hint that the
> Israelites were native Canaanites originally (because the
> Hebew language of Judea, and the Israelite language of
> Israel were offshoots of the earlier attested Canaanite),
> the linguistic evidence is probably not sufficient and may
> even provide false leads.  It is possible to think of
> conquerors who adopted the local language, such as
> perhaps the Norman conquest of England.
> 
> None of the facts I presented is based on claims made
> by the Bible.  They are only based on the linguistic
> features of the Hebrew language found in the Bible and
> known attested evidence of the various Semitic languages.
> 
> Yitzhak Sapir
> http://toldot.blogspot.com

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