Linguistic dating of biblical texts

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Since the beginning of critical scholarship biblical texts have been dated using linguistic evidence. In recent years this has become a controversial topic, especially with the publication of Ian Young (ed.), Biblical Hebrew: Studies in Chronology and Typology (2003). However, until now there has been no introduction and comprehensive study of the field.

Volume 1 introduces the field of linguistic dating of biblical texts, particularly to intermediate and advanced students of biblical Hebrew who have a reasonable background in the language, having completed at least an introductory course at the university or divinity school level, but also to scholars of the Hebrew Bible in general who have not been exposed to the full scope of issues. The book is useful to a wide range of readers by introducing topics at a basic level before entering into detailed discussion. Among the many issues discussed in this volume are: What is it that makes Archaic Biblical Hebrew archaic , Early Biblical Hebrew early , and Late Biblical Hebrew late ? Does linguistic typology, i.e. different linguistic characteristics, convert easily and neatly into linguistic chronology, i.e. different historical origins? A large amount of text samples are presented for study. Readers are introduced to significant linguistic features of the texts by means of notes on the passages. For use as a textbook in a classroom context, the detailed notes on the text samples provide a background, concrete illustrations, and a point of departure for discussion of the general and theoretical issues discussed in each chapter. After a brief introduction (Chapter 1), the following chapters look in detail at the principles and methodology used to differentiate Archaic, Early and Late Biblical Hebrew (Chapters 2-5, 12), the complicating matters of dialects and diglossia and textual criticism (Chapters 7, 13), and the significance of extra-biblical sources, including Amarna Canaanite, Ugaritic, Aramaic, Hebrew inscriptions of the monarchic period, Qumran and Mishnaic Hebrew, the Hebrew language of Ben Sira and Bar Kochba, and also Egyptian, Akkadian, Persian and Greek loanwords (Chapters 6, 8-12).

Volume 2 builds on the topics outlined in volume 1. It begins with a book by book survey of scholarship on the origins of biblical sources, passages and books, with particular reference to the linguistic evidence scholars have cited in arriving at these conclusions. This is followed by an detailed synthesis of the topics introduced in the first volume, a series of detailed case studies on various linguistic issues, extensive tables of grammatical and lexical features, and a comprehensive bibliography. The authors argue that the scholarly use of language in dating biblical texts, and even the traditional standpoint on the chronological development of biblical Hebrew, require a thorough re-evaluation, and propose a new perspective on linguistic variety in biblical Hebrew. Early Biblical Hebrew and Late Biblical Hebrew do not represent different chronological periods in the history of biblical Hebrew, but instead represent co-existing styles of literary Hebrew throughout the biblical period.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherEquinox Publ
ISBN (Print)1845530810
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ID: 44659475