[b-hebrew] Dating the Book of Ruth

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Tue Jun 1 21:29:38 EDT 2010

On 2 Jun 2010 at 11:05, George Athas wrote:

> Bryant Williams asks about the arguments for a late dating of Ruth.
> Since this goes beyond the original thread in which it was placed,
> I've changed the subject name. Please continue the thread here.
> What do we make of some of the personal names in Ruth:
> Mahlon = 'Critically ill' (Guess what he does: he dies!)
> Chilion = 'Terminally ill' (Guess what he does: he dies!)
> Orpah = 'Back-of-the-neck girl' (Guess what she does: she turns her
> back on Naomi)
> Ruth = 'companion' (Guess what she does: she acts as Naomi's
> companion)
> Naomi = 'Sweetie' (She's anything but, and she knows it, too)
> Boaz = 'Strongly/Lively' (Guess what he does: he comes to the
> rescue)
> Should these wordplays figure in a discussion on the dating of the
> book of Ruth?

I did a study of these names when I was in seminary.  As it turns out, most - maybe all, I 
forget - appear in Ugaritic and some other cognates, so they appear to be legitimate semitic 
names.  That doesn't necessarily mean they aren't a little "convenient" as plot devices, but 
at least there's a prima facie case for the idea that they're not made-up names.  I'm not sure 
what the significance of that is, but for what it's worth, there it is.

Dave Washburn


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