[b-hebrew] Biblical Hebrew orthographical practices in light of epigraphy

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Tue Jun 1 03:25:21 EDT 2010

Hi Yitzhak,

you raise several issues. Firstly, you claim this discussion to be an
extension of the discussion about the Samaritan Pentateuch. As far as I
recall we got here in response to you claiming a late date of Ruth based on
orthographic evidence.

Secondly, you claim I have a position. The comments I made about having a
position were quite clearly and contextually in relation to the
interpretation of the epigraphic corpora. My position is that there is not
enough data to construct a reliable model of orthography from various

Then you start to split hairs over whether you are doing a PhD or not. I
think to most list members with an ounce of common sense that the general
point you seem to have missed is that when people in general question your
interpretation (the interpretation you support) this is not necessarily
indicative of their being opponents of your position.

Then you go on to split hairs about my use of colloquial English where I say
things like 'your position' or 'your theory' with the easily deducible sense
of 'the position you support' and 'the theory you support'. This is
perfectly acceptable English. The corpus of colloquial English provides
massive empirical evidence that native English speakers (non-academic ones
at least) have no problem correctly interpreting these phrases in context.
As you still seem to not be able to grasp these nuances of the English
language I have repeatedly asked to translate these phrases appropriately to
help you understand. As you seem to still not understand the sense of them
after repeated pleas I can only conclude that you are splitting hairs for
the sake of splitting hairs and in the name of consuming bandwidth. Please
stop doing this. It's not doing you or your theory (the theory you support)
any favours.

Finally, you get round to saying something worth commenting on. You mention
that it is not gentilics that are shortened but other plurals. Thanks for
this. I'll make a note of it. In any case, it really doesn't seem to provide
any evidence which would change my position that there is not enough data to
know either way. Until you accept this I really don't see this discussion
going anywhere useful.

One final additional note. You observe the testimony of the spelling of the
Samaritan Pentateuch. As you correctly note if the spelling of the
Pentateuch is ancient and also that of the Judean Torah then this may be
indicative that your interpretation of the data is incorrect. Internal
references to copying of the law also seem to contradict your
interpretation. And so in conclusion there is clearly not enough data to be
decisive either way but the evidence seems to be mounting that your position
(the one you support) is misguided.

P.S. Please stop writing that all scholars agree with you. It's not doing
you any favours. Nobody cares.

James Christian

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