[b-hebrew] Hebrew as a spoken language

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Oct 27 11:17:37 EDT 2007


On 10/27/07, Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com> wrote:
>  Karl,
>     You made the following point:
>   "As far as modern researchers, who is more trustworthy: those who were
> there at that time, or those who try to reconstruct events later?"
>   Without dismissing the unquestionable importance of ancient resources,
>   including the HB, modern researchers have many more tools at their
>   disposal for reconstructing various periods of the past.
But modern researchers have far less material with which to work.

I go back to the example as it was told me concerning the
Peloponnesian War: modern researchers have been unable to find any
information on it from archeology, only from written records.
Likewise, would a 70 year hiatus of occupation show up in the
archeological record, or would that be too short of a time? I suspect
the latter.

>      Your other point is well taken. However, when mentioning the verse in
>   II Kings,  I  wanted to demonstrate that ancient memories were clear
>   about the fact that the Neo-Babylonians did not exile everybody.

I specifically mentioned that some went willingly, just did not
mention that they went to Egypt instead of Babylon.

>   As for what happenned during that period of occupation, I prefer
>   the results of modern research; I did mention an important resource
>   previously.
Yes you did, but for the reasons I mention above, I find I prefer the
ancient records.

>      To return to what started this exchange  -- when Hebrew stopped
>   being spoken-- I repeat my reference to Mishnaic Hebrew. This  later
>   stage of the language, whose written marks can already be found in
>   Qohelet and elsewhere, cannot have been only an artifically invention.
Nobody on this list contends that Mishnaic Hebrew was an artificial
invention. All some of us say is that it is a natural development in
the same way as medieval Latin was a natural development of imperial

Stylistically, Qohelet is consistent with pre-Exile writing with its
complex allusions. It does not have that simplicity and directness
found in Biblical post-Exile writings.

If one wants to point to writing transitioning to Mishnaic Hebrew,
Chronicles is a perfect example: its writing is noticeably different
in orthography from other Biblical books.

>     Those interested in the development of spoken Hebrew would
>   do well to familiarize themselves with Mishnaic Hebrew.
>    Uri   Hurwitz                                                           Great Neck, NY
Karl W. Randolph.

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