[b-hebrew] Masoretic transmission of pronuncation [was: Ex 6:6 hiphil &c.]

Jerry Shepherd jshepherd53 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 11 23:32:57 EDT 2013

Hi Will,

You said: "As I mentioned above, Biblical texts were written over a period
centuries, and the language surely underwent changes during that
time.  Taking the language of the last book (by which time there was
most likely strong Aramaic influence) and the beginning of the work of
the Masoretes is somewhat misleading as to the total time of the
transformation of language we're considering."

Jerry: See Chavoux's post and also my post to Karl.  I believe that there
was not only development in the Hebrew language, but also development in
the biblical texts; older texts were edited and updated in a number of
ways, including orthographically.

You said: ". . . the Hebrew as pronounced
using a 'Masoretic' pronunciation would sound considerably different
than that used by Jeremiah, let alone David, let alone Moses."

Jerry: Agreed, but, as I mentioned above, the post-exilic editions of those
texts would be different as well, on account of editorial work, including
an updating process.

You said: "I don't follow your reasoning here at all."

Jerry: See my post to Karl on this; but what I'm arguing is that if Hebrew
ceased to be the regular spoken language among Jewish communities, and was
pretty much reserved for liturgical and academic purposes, that would have
helped to preserve the text as well as the pronunciation of the text.  If
the Hebrews was spoken primarily by the religious officials, that would
have helped to "freeze" the text and its pronunciation.  Admittedly, this
is speculative, because we just don't know when Hebrew ceased to be a
commonly spoken language.  But it is one plausible scenario.



Jerry Shepherd
Taylor Seminary
Edmonton, Alberta
jshepherd53 at gmail.com
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