[b-hebrew] Linguistic Dating

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Tue Oct 30 00:17:22 EDT 2007

On 10/30/07, 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.

In 2003, Ian Young wrote in Biblical Hebrew: Studies in Chronology and
p. 309:

"The generally lose link between the language of the Bible and that of the
inscriptions shows that it is plausible that something similar to SBH was the
language of the monarchic period.  The inscriptional evidence is not
drastically inconsistent with a pre-exilic origin of those biblical books
whose contents suggest such a dating.  ... We cannot deny the
possibility that a form of language linked to the pre-exilic inscriptions
continued in the post-exilic period.  ... The language of the inscriptions
is not identical with SBH. ... The identity of SBH with inscriptional
Hebrew cannot be taken for granted and used as a secure base on
which to argue to conclusions about the nature and date of SBH."

Has his position changed since then regarding any of the above
statements (but most importantly the first sentence)?

Yitzhak Sapir

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