[b-hebrew] Hebrew - dialect of canaanite
kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Jun 30 13:56:20 EDT 2006
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
> Your post is completely ridiculous. "For example,
> from the internal date of Torah correlated to the modern
> calendar, it was written before 1400 BC. That date
> makes the study of Ugaritic, whose library dates
> from two to six centuries later." Huh!?!? Ugaritic was
> no longer spoken in 800 BCE! In fact, in 1200 BCE,
> Ugarit was destroyed. While Ugaritic inscriptions
> date from 1400 BCE onwards, some of them were
> probably written or composed long before.
OK, I was going from memory for the dates of Ugarit
and checking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugarit
(the general outline there agrees with what I have
learned elsewhere) puts the written records from
Ugarit from being contemporaneous to Moses
(according to traditional dating) to close to 500
years later (according to revised dating). Either
way, that puts Ugaritic in a linguistic backwater
as far as studying Hebrew is concerned.
There are several clues in Exodus that I mentioned
before on this list that indicate that the pharaoh
that Moses dealt with was a Hyksos pharaoh, and
that the earliest Ugaritic literature that we have
attested to postdates the Hyksos period means that,
if the history is accurate (which I think it is
while you disbelieve), Ugaritic had no influence on
the development of Hebrew.
> ... To compare,
> you do not have a version of the Torah from 1400 BCE.
> You have a book attested in the last few centuries BCE.
> If you claim that the internal dates allow you to date this
> book (Torah) back from 300 BCE to 1400 BCE, then
> perhaps the Ugaritic inscriptions could be dated back
> by the internal dates from 1400 BCE to 2500 BCE!
Don't be ridiculous!
> The real problem is that you make claims and statements
> knowing nothing about Ugarit, or Ugaritic, and even
> refusing to try to study Ugaritic because, well, you
> already know it can't help you.
The main reason I don't study it is time constraints.
> You give some hypothetical scenario. Well, first off,
> I wouldn't believe you on any date you give for a
> document because you are not a linguist. In fact,
> you've shown some rather bad performance in this
> area when you claimed a North Arabian inscription
> written in the first few centuries CE was a
> Canaanite inscription written 1500 years earlier.
I didn't answer you last time because of the
moderators who said not to, but now that you bring
it up again ...
First of all, the stone that we referenced was
found geographically separated from Safaitic sites,
in northern Jordan while Safaitic inscriptions are
found in southern Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Secondly, it was found without a historical context
from which we can date it, making the only dating
possible based on epigraphic studies. Thirdly,
while the epigraphy shows some similarities to
southern Semitic writings, particularly the bet and
resh, it also has great differences from Safaitic
writings in the letters used, e.g. the URL below,
while showing similarities to proto-Sinaitic.
The conclusion based on archeological, epigraphic
and linguistic analysis says that that is not a
> Besides, your theoretical situation misrepresents the
> way linguists work. Given a document, linguists can
> associate the document with known sets of data,
> based on script, orthography, and language. Each of
> these sets of data is large, not a single document, and
> the language of this set can be compared with others to
> determine if the languages are related and how. In any
> case, none of this relates to the "internal date" of the
You claim that the data sets are large. Prove it.
In order to dismiss the internally attested to date
of a document based on linguistic data, looking at
how the language changed, you need to have many
extensive documents totaling multiple hundreds if
not thousands of words each century. Where is the
list of such documentation for Biblical Hebrew? Eh?
This was the method used to prove that the Donation
of Constantine was a centuries later forgery.
Analysis based on epigraphic data does not count
when dealing with claimed copies of older material.
All that can say is when the copy was made, not the
When all we have are copies, the original is
missing and we lack other extensive documentation
for linguistic studies, the only way we can date
written documents is from their historical claims,
either internally or the dates that other writers
give to those documents. As for Torah, the internal
date and the dates given in, e.g. Kings, indicate a
fifteenth century BC date.
> ... It's already been suggested here that the
> language of the Torah was revised over the centuries.
> Your "internal date" theory cannot answer such a claim.
> You just believe what you want and ignore the evidence.
Look at your words, "It's ... been suggested", that
is speculation, not evidence. Evidence requires
older copies that show language change. Anything
less is hot air.
You confuse speculation with evidence.
> The only person on this list who thinks that the generally
> well-accepted evidence among linguists and historians of
> all beliefs presented in the Ghayin/Ayin thread or in the
> Saenz-Badillos book is not "evidence" is you. Maybe you
> would look at the evidence for a change, instead of
> inventing facts about things you know nothing about?
I was given two pages of Saenz-Badillos and, unless
those pages are atypical of the rest of the book
(which I doubt), he does not have evidence other
than his speculated reconstructions. Speculation
does not equal evidence.
Just because somebody wrote a book does not mean
that he got it right. Having learned most of my
Biblical Hebrew on my own from extensively reading
Tanakh, I don't know these so-called experts if
they truly are experts, therefore question
everybody. I'm like the boy who's not afraid to
say that the emperor has no clothes.
> Yitzhak Sapir
In closing, I learned logic from learning how to
compensate for dyslexia, scientific method from
science classes at the University and how to do
linguistic studies from anthropology classes there,
so applying those basic principles shows that much
of the discussion that goes on here is speculation
because the evidence is either insufficient to
answer the question, or lacking. And yes, I have
been guilty of speculation here too. Sometimes that
speculation can lead to answers, sometimes we need
to acknowledge that we never will come to an answer
short of getting a time machine so we could
interview living native speakers. But we need to
keep speculation distinct from evidence, and that's
where I fault you and many of your so-called
experts as failing to do.
Karl W. Randolph.
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