[b-hebrew] Early and late biblical Hebrew

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Fri Nov 25 13:38:29 EST 2011

Dear David,

Do you have a link to Robyn Vern's dissertation? I have seen various references
to it in google, bing, yahoo, etc., searches, but have not located it.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Steinberg" <david.l.steinberg at rogers.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2011 7:26 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Early and late biblical Hebrew

> Yes I agree with him. I suggest that you read his more extensive works -
> Young, Ian,- /Diversity in Pre-Exilic Hebrew,/ Forschungen zum Alten
> Testament, Coronet Books Inc, 1993, ISBN-10: 3161460588
> - Biblical Hebrew: /Studies in Chronology and Typology/ (Journal for the
> Study of the Old Testament Supplement), T. & T. Clark Publishers, 2004,
> ISBN-10: 0826468411
> Young, Ian, Robert Rezetko, Martin Ehrensvärd. /Linguistic Dating of
> Biblical Texts: Volume 1 - An Introduction to Approaches and
> Problems/(BibleWorld) (Paperback), Equinox Publishing (October 2008),
> ISBN-10: 1845530829; Volume 2 - A New Synthesis and a Comprehensive
> Bibliography
> Three works that I suggest that you read carefully are:
> Van Seters, John (1975) - /Abraham in History and Tradition/
> Thomas L. Thompson - /The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives/
> (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York, 1974). Read the section on names.
> Redford, Donald B. (1970) - /A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph/.
> Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill.
> We can assume that biblical prose "historic" texts such as /Samuel,
> Kings/ etc. may have been read by literate scribes. Even these were
> clearly modernized. A careful read of Polzin is worth the effort -
> Polzin, Robert, /Late Biblical Hebrew: Toward an Historical Typology of
> Biblical Hebrew Prose/.  (Scholars Press 1976. This isdiscussed in Vern,
> Robyn, "The Relevance of Linguistic Evidence to the Early Dating of the
> Archaic Poetry of the Hebrew Bible", PhD dissertation, University of
> Sydney, 2008.). Polzin carefully examines the changes in language
> between /Samuel-Kings/ and the parallel passages in /Chronicles/.
> One has to accept that most of the literature of the Hebrew Bible was
> meant to be comprehended read or recited aloud by a basically illiterate
> audience in the period of say 800-400 BCE ( see van der Toorn, Karel.
> /Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible/, Harvard University
> Press, 2009 - worth a careful read).The audience would no more have
> understood the language of 1400 -1200 BCE (case, mood, and other short
> vowel endings, the existence of final /y/ and /w/ which were lost in
> later Hebrew consequent on thedisappearance of final short vowels,
> differences in syntax) than a modern audience, not specifically trained
> in Middle English, would understand a recitation of Chaucer. On the
> other hand, a sprinkling ofstandard archaisms in the "archaic poetry"
> would present no more difficulties in comprehension that the scattering
> of "thous", "thys" and "beholds" etc in a 19th century English love
> poem. (See /Time and Modal Implications of PC in Various Categories of
> BH Poetry/ http://www.adath-shalom.ca/history_of_hebrew3a.htm#time_mod_pc )
> As far as dating by names go, I have already mentioned the cases of the
> Iliad and the Nibelungenlied both of which contain ancient names and
> originated in known historical events. In both cases they were written
> down much later and neither contains much of the historical events in
> any recognizable form.
> The fact that St. George might really have been a third-fourth century
> Roman soldier says nothing about the historicity or date of composition
> of the St. George literature that has come down to us.
> The fundamental situation is that we would all like to prove the date of
> various pieces of the biblical text and, in most cases, be able to
> demonstrate that the biblical Abraham, Moses etc. lived and did what
> they are described as doing in the text. However, archaeology, critical
> studies of history etc. contradict such naive readings of the text. The
> linguistic evidence, which Avi Hurvitz (see
> http://www.houseofdavid.ca/anc_heb_6.htm#_edn6 ), Cross etc. considered
> objective indicators of date have turned out to be invalid ( see
> http://www.houseofdavid.ca/anc_heb_6.htm#ident_prex ).
> In my view we simply have to accept that we cannot linguistically date
> the material and not to continue to grab at straws.
> David Steinberg
> 1. The material I discuss and reference in the box Can Biblical Texts be
> Linguistically Dated? http://www.houseofdavid.ca/anc_heb_6.htm
> 2. Vern, Robyn, "The Relevance of Linguistic Evidence to the Early
> Dating of the Archaic Poetry of the Hebrew Bible", PhD dissertation,
> University of Sydney, 2008.
>   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 disapearance 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.
> On 24/11/2011 6:37 PM, jimstinehart at aol.com wrote:
> > David Steinberg:
> > 1.In a short article on the Internet, “Linguistic Dating of Biblical
> > Texts“, Ian Young rhetorically remarks:
> > “Once it is admitted that the language of the biblical texts has been
> > changed in scribal transmission, the claim that the language of the
> > current texts is evidence of the date of the original authors is
> > thrown into serious doubt.”
> > Do you agree?
> > 2.Ian Young considers, and often attacks/refutes, the following
> > possible bases for dating a Biblical text:
> > (a)Presence of Early Biblical Hebrew linguistic features
> > (b)Presence of Late Biblical Hebrew linguistic features
> > (c)Presence of Persian loanwords
> > (d)Presence of Aramaic features.
> > You will note that Ian Youngn-e-v-e-rconsiders whether the presence of
> > Hurrian proper names should be given any consideration whatsoever in
> > dating a Biblical text.He doesn’t even refute such an idea.Why?Why are
> > university scholars so certain, apparently without ever having given
> > the matter a moment’s thought, that the presence of Hurrian proper
> > names should be totally ignored for all purposes in dating a Biblical
> > text?When I mention the presence of 6 Hurrian-based names for the
> > Hurrians at Genesis 15: 19-21, why isn’t that at least worth
> > considering as a factor in dating the composition of the Patriarchal
> > narratives?In particular, if Qa-a-ni-ya/QYN-Y and Qa-ni-zi-ya/QN-Z-Y
> > at Genesis 15: 19 are the only two names in the entire Bible that are
> > Akkadian-based names with Hurrian characteristics, why isn’t that a
> > critical clue in dating the Patriarchal narratives?
> > Jim Stinehart
> > Evanston, Illinois
> >
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