Dating biblical texts

23-Apr-2019 03:18 by 4 Comments

Dating biblical texts

Hurvitz argues in his article on the Prose Tale of Job, as he does elsewhere, that the late elements in the text "betray their actual background; and if they are not few or sporadic ― in which case their occurrence may be regarded as purely incidental ― they effectively date a given text." Later, he mentions "the existence of a considerable number of such [late] elements in the Prose Tale..." and concludes: "As far as can be judged from the linguistic data at our disposal, these -classical ― namely, as imprints of late Hebrew ― thus making the final shaping of the extant Prose Tale incompatible with a date prior to the Exile." Thus: "It would appear that in spite of his efforts to write pure classical Hebrew and to mark his story with "Patriarchal coloring," the author of the Prose Tale could not avoid certain phrases which are unmistakably characteristic of post-exilic Hebrew, thus betraying his actual late date." Thus, according to Hurvitz, despite his best efforts, it was not possible for the author of the Prose Tale of Job to avoid using LBH linguistic features.

Despite the claims of the criterion of accumulation, to which we will turn shortly, there is no reason to assume that an early author could not produce a text with a clustering of LBH elements if they were available to him.Given that the overwhelming majority of extra-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic dates to the postexilic period or later it is virtually inevitable that BH linguistic forms―whether early or late―will be attested in "late" extra-biblical also attested in early Aramaic, so it is hard to see how the external evidence proves anything regarding date.Why, it might be asked, did Hurvitz need to decide that linguistic features were enough to date the Prose Tale late?Why, in the first quote, did he need to emphasize that the LBH forms need to be more than few or sporadic?The other key element in Hurvitz's methodology is that not only must the linguistic element be evidenced in the LBH books, it must exhibit a linguistic ; in other words, it must be used in similar contexts as other forms in the core EBH books, especially the Pentateuch and Former Prophets.

This crucial step ensures that we really do have variant language, not just linguistic forms that had no opportunity to appear in EBH books.

Yet, still, the remaining seven of those 91 occurrences in the Hebrew Bible are found in core EBH books like Samuel and Kings.

were dated late, this means late texts need not exhibit an accumulation of LBH features.

Even demonstrating, using Hurvitz's careful methodology of distribution-opposition-external attestation (as discussed below), that a particular linguistic feature is LBH does not lead to the classification of the text in which it is found as LBH.

As Hurvitz admits, LBH linguistic elements are found in EBH texts.

Thus, as Hurvitz emphasizes in the quote above, it requires a "considerable number" of such LBH elements in a text before that text can be considered LBH. In his article on the Prose Tale of Job, Hurvitz identifies seven linguistic features in the 749 words of the Prose Tale as LBH elements and considers this enough evidence to date the work late.

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