[b-hebrew] song of Deborah

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Nov 17 10:40:50 EST 2011

David Steinberg:
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 
Biblical Texts 

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. 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

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