[b-hebrew] Language, migration and Jewish identity

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Nov 2 12:58:36 EDT 2007


On 11/1/07, Kevin Riley <klriley at alphalink.com.au> wrote:
> Karl,
> It may surprise you to know that for once the majority of scholars agree
> with you.  The earliest Yiddish documents as well as the current dialects
> show definitely that Yiddish originated in the S-W German area, and changed
> as it moved eastward.

No, I am not surprised that the majority of scholars agree with me. In
fact, in most subjects I expect that the majority agree with me and I
with them.

It is in the minority of cases that we disagree, and that sticks out.

As for Yiddish, it's an interesting off topic diversion.

> ...  Bringing it back to Biblical Hebrew, I
> wonder sometimes how complicated the history of Hebrew was even back in the
> time of Moses.  Exodus mentions a group of non-Hebrews who came out of Egypt
> with Moses, so maybe the development of Hebrew wasn't just a straight line
> even before the Hebrews settled in Israel.  What a pity the Israelites did
> not write on clay tablets, as then we might have more evidence on which to
> base our wondering.
> Kevin Riley
The question is, and it is nowhere answered, who were these
non-Hebrews? Were they Semites from Canaan, in which case they may
have spoken a language so close to Hebrew that the differences may not
even show up in the written record? And if they spoke completely
different languages, would they not have learned standard Hebrew? I
agree, too bad they did not use more durable materials for their
writing. But can you imagine a nomadic people schlepping around a
library written on clay tablets?

Karl W. Randolph.

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