Dating archaic biblical hebrew poetry
As is well known to readers of this journal, some scholars have recently claimed that biblical texts cannot be dated on the basis of their linguistic features.The core of their claims is collected in This book primarily challenges the linguistic distinction between Classical or Standard Biblical Hebrew and Late Biblical Hebrew, which a number of prominent scholars, such as Robert Polzin, Avi Hurvitz, and Jan Joosten have advocated.Was the Bible written from beginning to end in an unchanging language called Biblical Hebrew, or did this language evolve over time?In “How Biblical Hebrew Changed” in the September/October 2016 issue of , Professor Avi Hurvitz argues there are three distinct forms of Biblical Hebrew, each one corresponding to certain parts of the Bible and other ancient texts.Genesis ; Genesis -19; Genesis 4:6-7; Genesis b-24; Genesis ; Genesis 9:6; Genesis -27; Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis -20; Genesis -12; Genesis ; Genesis ; Genesis -29; Genesis -40; Genesis -12; Genesis -16; Genesis ; Exodus ; Numbers -26; Numbers -36; Numbers 12:6b-8a; Numbers ,15,17-18; Numbers -30; Joshua -13 (poetic portion); Judges 9:8-15; Judges , 18; Judges (poetic portion); Judges -24 (poetic portion); 1 Samuel b-23; 1 Samuel 18:7 (poetic portion); 2 Samuel -34 (poetic portions); 2 Samuel 20:1 (poetic portion); 1 Kings -13; 1 Kings (poetic portion); 2 Kings b-28; 2 Kings ; 2 Kings b-34.After almost three centuries of modern study of the Hebrew Bible, it is clear that internal analysis of the text cannot convincingly disclose the periods of composition of the components that were finally redacted into the text that has come down to us.We will then suggest a number of features which we believe are characteristic of archaic poetry.
The Hebrews adopted the Phoenician alphabet around the 12th century BCE, which developed into the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet.Measuring about 27 feet long, the scroll is written on very thin animal skin (no thicker than one-tenth of a millimeter), making it the thinnest of the Dead Sea Scrolls.The work claims to provide the details of God’s instructions regarding the construction and operation of a temple that was never built, along with extensive regulations about sacrifices and temple practices.Biblical Hebrew is best-attested in the Hebrew Bible, the collection of Judaic religious and historical texts which reflect various stages of the Hebrew language in its consonantal skeleton, as well as a vocalic system which was added in the Middle Ages by the Masoretes.There is also some evidence of regional dialectal variation, including differences between Biblical Hebrew as spoken in the northern Kingdom of Israel and in the southern Kingdom of Judah.
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The book concludes with an analysis of these three features and with a more general methodological conclusion.