Dating archaic biblical hebrew poetry

But they also point out outliers, including fragments of genuinely archaic language preserved in passages that were composed in Classical Bible Hebrew, and intentionally “archaized” fragments appearing in texts that were composed in Late Biblical Hebrew.The Dead Sea Scrolls, which were written in “Qumran Hebrew,” and the early Greek and Aramaic translations of the Bible allow scholars to triangulate on the age and origins of the Masoretic Text, which has long been regarded as the definitive version of the Hebrew Bible.“The book of Daniel is situated with the sixth century but has since long been unmasked as a writing of the Hellenistic age because of its manifest allusions to the Maccabean wars,” the authors write.“Ecclesiastes is fictively attributed to Solomon but is similarly recognized as one of the latest books of the Hebrew Bible.” Similarly, when the First Book of Chronicles depicts the delivery of what the authors call a “fund-raising speech for the temple,” King David asks for the donation of “ten thousand darics,” which was “the most expensive coinage of the Persian era.” Yet the daric did not come into common usage in ancient Israel until several centuries after the presumed lifetime of David, and the mention of darics points to the Second Temple era.The addition of the internal yod in David’s name, the authors explain, “is characteristic of later spelling practices, as reflected in the Second Temple-period texts and inscriptions.” So the presence or absence the yod is itself a time marker.

As with other bodies of poetry, it routinely involves higher concentrations of words and phrases with rare meanings or usages, bold ellipses, sudden transitions, and other stylistic complexity.

” by Ronald Hendel and Jan Joosten (Yale University Press) poses a simple question, but the answer is a work of scholarship that offers an elegant solution to an enduring mystery.

For pious Jews, of course, the Bible was given by God to Moses at Sinai, but scholars have long debated when, where and by whom these writings were first set down.

In quite a different vein, although written at about the same time, O’Connor 1997 (originally published in 1980) presents a minute syntactic description of Hebrew poetry that has been met with mixed reviews, in part due to its demanding nature, though for the patient reader, the book contains many insights.

Recent short introductory survey articles, such as Berlin 1996 and Dobbs-Allsopp 2009, offer concise evaluations of the current state of the conversation.

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