[b-hebrew] Ruth

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Thu May 20 17:21:04 EDT 2010

Dating a work by linguistic factors is a shaky business in Hebrew. Our
corpus is so small. If we are to form a dating framework based on what we
see in the corpus ignoring the possibility that different authors may have
used slightly different dialects/styles then the best we could ever hope to
achieve is that of making relative observations. e.g. book a is older than
book b or statement i in book a is later than statement j in book b.

It's good that you bring inscriptions into the debate because then we have
datable data that we can attempt to build a chronology around. However, I
still have reservations about the size of the data set we have available and
how sure we can be of any models we construct. I'm sure you would agree that
it is good academic practise to acknowledge the limitations and possible
errors when building such models.

Also, I'm not sure if I understand why you are wary of elaborating your
theories on list. Are you afraid someone will steal your thunder and publish
your work?

James Christian

On 20 May 2010 23:48, Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:

> Karl, when I say I have a theory, it doesn't just mean a vague idea
> that is unsupported by the evidence.
> It means I have a detailed model that I have written up in a draft,
> researched, with notes.  Unfortunately, it is only a draft, and while
> I think I am onto something, I am wary of discussing it on list.  I
> would rather first finish it up, bring it to someone qualified to review,
> and then hopefully publish it.  In this draft, only about 20% deals
> with the history of Hebrew, so the theory is not about the history
> of hebrew.  That is a side issue that comes up along the way.
> The main subject remains the linguistic classification of Canaanite
> languages.  Hebrew comes up because it is a Canaanite language.
> When Yigal asked for linguistic evidence for the date of Ruth, I
> thought this pertains to it.  So I summarized parts of it that allowed
> me to give him an answer.  I noticed only Randall and I gave answers
> that were based on language.
> Anyway, as I mentioned, my theory is only a work in progress, and
> I am really wary of discussing all of it on list.  This is why when I
> realized I accidentally brought it up in the context of the discussion
> of orthography, I suggested we drop the line of argument based on
> -y construct plurals.  Another issue is that I also don't want to tie it
> in to the general discussion of orthography, as you seem to have
> done in your response.
> My theory does not pertain to the orthography.  The concepts I
> have discussed here about the orthography of Hebrew are well
> recognized by all scholars.
> Karl, not everything that they teach in scholarship is a "first year
> lie."  It seems that you like to pin this label on everything you
> disagree with.  Well, the issue of orthography isn't a "first year
> lie."  Yes, there are variations.  But orthography was not invented
> only in the last few centuries.  Where did you get that idea?
> I'm also impressed with your willingness to accept that the
> Bible was accurately copied for thousands of years.  It is odd
> that in light of this you don't accept that the vocalization and
> cantillation was also accurately preserved.  I guess you have
> a more strict doctrine than the general Christian doctrine of
> the "inerrancy in the original autographs."  You believe that
> what we have is the original autographs!
> However, I'm still confused.  Do you think that the Samaritan
> version is the accurately copied one?  The Jewish Tiberian one?
> Perhaps the Jewish Yemenite one?  What about the Torah
> of R' Meir that is described in the Midrash?  Or the versions of
> the Bible and Pentateuch that are found in the DSS?  Which
> of all of these is the accurately copied version?
> You can read about gentilics in Gesenius:
> http://books.google.com/books?id=VSUUAAAAYAAJ
> No, it is not an imposition of western grammar into Hebrew.
> Karl, I actually happen to think you have good library resources
> available to you that you do not utilize.  Some people may not
> have access to good libraries, but you do.  In any case, here is
> a link to Gesenius' grammar.  So save it!
> Having reviewed your mail I find that you provided no counter-
> evidence to the issue of orthography.  All you provided were
> hypothetical questions and insinuations.  Please provide
> any counter evidence you have.  Like you yourself said,
> "do you have examples to show us?"
> Yitzhak Sapir
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