Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Diachrony in Hebrew

The diachronic markers established with much acumen and sophistication by Hebraists play little or no part in the equally subtle game of dating biblical texts as practiced by exegetes. Attacks on the documentary hypothesis in the late 1970s have inaugurated a period in which it has become commonplace to date substantial parts of the Pentateuch to the Persian period or later. To the mainstream Hebrew linguist, these proposals are difficult, or even absurd. The language of, say, Genesis 15 is different from that of Ezra–Nehemiah in a way that makes it almost impossible to imagine that the two texts come from the same general period. Joosten in Diachrony in Biblical Hebrew, page 291

<idle musing>
Amen! I'm a philologist first and foremost. I never understood the late dating; if we date the Greek classics by the logic of some of these biblical scholars, the Odyssey would have been composed sometime in the Hellenistic period or later...crazy!
<idle musing>

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