[b-hebrew] Linguistic Dating

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Mon Oct 29 21:12:38 EDT 2007

Karl Randolph wrote:

> The book of Ruth, though it is a simple

> narrative, shows linguistic evidence of

> pre-Exile authorship, possibly David or

> before.

Actually, dating a book on linguistic grounds is very perilous indeed.
The old distinction between Early Biblical Hebrew (EBH) and Late
Biblical Hebrew (LBH) can no longer be sustained on chronological
factors. They are distinct types of Hebrew, yes. However, close
analysis reveals that both existed at the same time. You can find
features of both types of Hebrew in books associated with both the
pre-exilic and post-exilic eras. In other words, they were
contemporary of each other, one being perhaps the more conservative
(EBH) and the other a bit freer (LBH). But we probably need to find
some new terminology to talk about these types of Hebrew.

Look out for a book on this topic next year by Young & Rezetko, and a
follow-up volume by Young, Rezekto & Ehrensvärd.


Best Regards, 

Moore Theological College (Sydney) 
1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia 
Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774 


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