[b-hebrew] song of Deborah
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Nov 17 10:40:50 EST 2011
You wrote: “The early dating of the so called "archaic poetry" is
essentially based on the work of Albright, Cross and Freedman. It always went well
the evidence but has now been shown to be unfounded. A few elderly
scholars whose reputations are bound up in early datings - Cross and Avi
Hurvitz - still maintain the early dates but the evidence is against
them. See - 1. The material I discuss and reference in the box /Can
be Linguistically Dated?”
At your website, you answer that last question “No”.
1. I agree that dating Biblical texts on the basis of linguistics is
problematic. That’s because Biblical spelling of common words was continuously
updated over the centuries through post-exilic times. Your point is that
even the Song of Deborah has “modern” orthography: “If you look at the text
of any of the so called archaic poems,and you revert it to its probable form
c. 1200-1400 BCE (add case, mood, and other short vowel endings, revert
contractions of final /y/ and /w/ consequent on the disappearance of final short
vowels etc.) you will find
that the orthography is not really archaic and, in many cases, such as
the use of /matres/ - is often typologically late.”
But that does not mean that the Song of Deborah is late. No, it just means
that Biblical texts cannot be linguistically dated, because their spelling
of common words was often updated.
2. Much more informative as to dating is to look at the proper names in a
Biblical text. For example, take a gaze at the magnificent proper name
$a-am-g/xa-ri ben Anat. $a-am-g/xa-ri is attested only in the Late Bronze Age,
and ben Anat is attested only in the Late Bronze Age and early Iron Age.
That super-exciting name suggests that the Song of Deborah was composed
shortly after the close of the Late Bronze Age, when Israel was in the process of
absorbing the small remaining Hurrian charioteer remnant in Canaan.
3. Now cast your eye on the following vintage Late Bronze Age proper names
in the Patriarchal narratives at Genesis 15: 19-21: Qa-a-ni-ya,
Qa-ni-zi-ya, Xuti-ya, Piri-izzi-ya, Gera-ge-$e-ya, and A-bu-u-se-ya. Subject to mere
orthographic variances, those six names are attested only in the Late Bronze
Why do university scholars think that Ezra’s contemporaries in post-exilic
Jerusalem could come up with Late Bronze Age proper names like that? Why
believe in miracles? When a text like the Patriarchal narratives has dozens
of proper names that are attested outside of the Bible solely in the Late
Bronze Age, why not come to the obvious conclusion that the Patriarchal
narratives were composed in, or very shortly after, the Late Bronze Age? Whereas
the Song of Deborah deals with a small remaining Hurrian remnant being
absorbed by Israel in the mid-12th century BCE, Genesis 15: 19-21 is chronicling
the historical fact that 200 years [400 spring and fall New Years, per
Genesis 15: 13] before that, the first Hebrews had to contend with Hurrian
princelings as the dominant ruling class in Canaan, with Hurrian charioteer
princelings being officially-appointed mayors of a majority of Canaan’s cities in
the mid-14th century BCE, as attested by the Amarna Letters.
The proper names in these two texts -- the Patriarchal narratives and the
Song of Deborah -- go a long way to dating these two texts, both of which are
really, really old. Yes, the Patriarchal narratives feature non-archaic
spelling of common words, in particular having no case endings. So what?
Those vintage Late Bronze Age proper names in the last 40 chapters of Genesis
by the dozens could not be faked by Ezra’s contemporaries in post-exilic
Jerusalem. Why believe in miracles?
We begin to see why the academic community has adopted the following
highly questionable approach to dating Biblical texts on the basis of their
proper names, per Dr. Reinhard G. Lehmann: “Names are long-living, even if
they contain long-vanished Gods as theophoric. Names are worth almost few if
anything when pondering the age of a text. With names, you can only prove
that a text is young….”
There’s no way that the magnificent proper name $a-am-g/xa-ri ben Anat in
the Song of Deborah is “late”. Not.
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