Linguistic Dating of Biblical Texts (2 Volumes)

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Overview

Volume 1 is a textbook for students and is sold in a paperback edition as a single volume. Volume 2 provides material to supplement Volume 1 for advanced students and scholars and is sold only as a set with Volume 1 in a hardback edition. 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 Biblical Hebrew: Studies in Chronology and Typology (Ian Young, ed., 2003). However, until now, there has been no introduction and comprehensive study of the field. Volume 1: An Introduction to Approaches and Problems, by Ian Young and Robert Rezetko, with the assistance of Martin Ehrensvärd 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. It outlines 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 (different linguistic characteristics), convert easily and neatly into linguistic chronology (different historical origins)? Many text samples are presented for study, and readers are introduced to significant linguistic features of the texts through notes on the passages. Detailed notes on these text samples provide a background, concrete illustrations, and a point of departure for discussion of the general and theoretical issues discussed in each chapter that will this volume useful as a classroom textbook. After a brief introduction, chapters look in detail at the principles and methodology used to differentiate Archaic, Early and Late Biblical Hebrew, the complicating matters of dialects and diglossia and textual criticism, 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. Volume 2: A Survey of Scholarship, a New Synthesis and a Comprehensive Bibliography, by Ian Young, Robert Rezetko and Martin Ehrensvärd 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'This thoughtful and ambitious book by talented authors who have broken with conventional thinking about the historical development of Biblical Hebrew promises a small revolution in many branches of biblical studies and will stimulate much new, intensive research in Biblical Hebrew linguistics and stylistics.' --Ziony Zevit, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures, American Jewish University, and former editor of the journal Hebrew Studies

'A vivid debate has developed in recent years on the relation between SBH (/EBH) and LBH, and above all their chronology. For many scholars, the latter has direct implications for scholarly evaluations of the possible dating of biblical literature. Did the literati stop writing in SBH by the time they began writing in LBH? Can we date books to a pre-Persian period because they are written in EBH? Which roles do regional dialects of Hebrew play in this debate? This book not only addresses these and related questions, but consistently and as comprehensively as possible deals with methodological matters and previous studies. It brings forward new perspectives and shows readers how they apply to biblical texts. There is no doubt that this massive book makes a very substantial contribution to the scholarly discussion on EBH, LBH and linguistic dating of biblical texts. It will be widely read, cited and, of course, it will raise much debate. Moreover, it makes a contribution to both research and teaching in these areas. It is written not only for linguists, but for Hebrew Bible scholars in general including students. In sum, this is an important contribution for which the authors should be congratulated and thanked by all.' --Ehud Ben Zvi, Professor of History and Classics and Religious Studies, University of Alberta

'A vivid debate has developed in recent years on the relation between SBH (/EBH) and LBH, and above all their chronology. For many scholars, the latter has direct implications for scholarly evaluations of the possible dating of biblical literature. Did the literati stop writing in SBH by the time they began writing in LBH? Can we date books to a pre-Persian period because they are written in EBH? Which roles do regional dialects of Hebrew play in this debate? This book not only addresses these and related questions, but consistently and as comprehensively as possible deals with methodological matters and previous studies. It brings forward new perspectives and shows readers how they apply to biblical texts. There is no doubt that this massive book makes a very substantial contribution to the scholarly discussion on EBH, LBH and linguistic dating of biblical texts. It will be widely read, cited and, of course, it will raise much debate. Moreover, it makes a contribution to both research and teaching in these areas. It is written not only for linguists, but for Hebrew Bible scholars in general including students. In sum, this is an important contribution for which the authors should be congratulated and thanked by all.' --Ehud Ben Zvi, Professor of History and Classics and Religious Studies, University of Alberta

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845530815
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/10/2008
  • Series: BibleWorld Series
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Young is senior lecturer in the department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies at the University of Sydney.

Robert Rezetko completed his PhD in Hebrew Bible at the University of Edinburgh.

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