[b-hebrew] Dating the Book of Ruth

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jun 1 23:05:20 EDT 2010

If, as Dave has pointed out, most of these name are attested in other
Western Semitic sources, they would not seem to be totally "made up". And as
"real" names, they may have independent meanings other than those that
George has suggested. However, the fact that they are used in the story for
the characters whom they are most appropriate, means that the author of the
story purposely gave his characters these names. To me, this would be a
strong indication that not only is the story to a large extent a literary
creation, but that the author wanted to make sure that his audience knew
that it was. 
This, of course, is not proof of the date of the story. 
BTW, understanding the name "Ruth" as being derived from "re'ut",
"companionship", is from the midrash. More likely the actual etymology of
the name is from RWH, "to satiate". 

Yigal Levin

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of George Athas
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 4:05 AM
To: B-Hebrew
Subject: [b-hebrew] Dating the Book of Ruth

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
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

Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
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