[b-hebrew] Hebrew as a Spoken Language vs. Aramaic

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Oct 27 17:44:41 EDT 2007


On 10/27/07, Dave Washburn wrote:
> > If you are going to go this route, I am going to ask that you not make any
> > conclusions from the Bible (such as that the Jews were entirely displaced)
> > because the Bible is too a religious document.
>
> So what?  That doesn't make it a priori an unreliable source.  We obviously
> disagree on this crucial point, so perhaps we're at a stopping point right there.
> It's the one and only source we have that purports to be from roughly the time
> period in question, that has any real detail.  Writing it off because it's a religious
> document leaves us with essentially nothing. Yes, I read the thread on the
> topic, but wasn't impressed.  At the very least, it's several centuries earlier than
> the later rabbinic "evidence," so it must at least be considered and not
> just written off with a single stroke of the pen because of its genre.

If you read the thread on the topic you'd know that I didn't use
Rabbinic evidence,
I used Biblical evidence.  And the point of the above wasn't that I am going to
write off the Biblical evidence.  In fact, if you read the thread,
you'll see that my
view is a more complete analysis of the Biblical evidence, not writing
it off.  In
fact, I think you are writing off Biblical evidence, and at best are using a
particular interpretation of some verses that are ambiguous and which could be
interpreted several ways.  The difference, however, between whatever "writing
off" I'm doing and the writing off of Talmudic and archaeological
evidence that you
are doing is that I look and read and familiarize myself with that evidence,
whereas you seem not to want to investigate what that evidence says and how
that evidence bears on the questions at hand.  Now, it's obviously not the only
source from the period at hand.  There is archaeological evidence, unless you
want to write that one off because you don't know what the archaeological
evidence and couldn't care less.  But if that is the case, then obviously you
can't claim that it is "the one and only source we have that purports to be
from roughly the time period in question, that has any real detail."  It's the
one and only source you know about, because you're not interested in
looking at other sources.  Oh, and finally, even if we were to "write off" the
Bible as a historical source, we wouldn't be left with nothing.  Just like if
we write off the Talmud as a historical source for the fact that Hebrew was
still spoken in the early centuries CE, we wouldn't be left with nothing.
We would still be able to analyze Mishnaic Hebrew based on purely
linguistic criteria.

Yitzhak Sapir



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