[b-hebrew] linguistic dating

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 29 22:36:39 EDT 2007

  Well, Ian Young is a fine scholar indeed, and has already published
   widely on the subject. However, I could not accept his
   arguments. To take one example,  he holds that
   Qohelet was indeed written in the time of Solomon. The content
   alone would belie such an argument, since the book reflects certain
   aspects of Hellenistic philosophy. And this apart from the strong
   LBH features of its language.
   The above is only one of many examples.
   The subject is too involved to discuss here in greater detail. Young, and 
  those who follow him  have taken their stand in response to the more 
   customary position, that yes, there is indeed a diachronic development
   in biblical style  with certain poetry being the most ancient, and
   reflecting Canaanite predecessors. Avi Hurvits ( no relations of mine)
   is a prominent exponent of the diachronic approach.
   One has to add that of course language is not mathematics and
   that exceptions will occur, and most importantly, that late editing
   had a harmonizing effect on SBH which forms the largest part
   of the texts.
  Uri Hurwitz                                                  Great Neck NY,
   George Athas wrote:

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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