There are weaknesses in our books, and there are things we wish we had emphasized more or stated differently but, honestly, we are becoming tired of knee-jerk reactions to our work that reflect a superficial understanding of its content and purpose.
For example, we have seen the claim repeated that the aim of our arguments is to prove a late date of all biblical literature. We are pretty clear that we are saying that all linguistic dating arguments, both for early or late dates, dont work.
See By Ronald Hendel By Robert Rezetko Assistant Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen Honorary Research Associate, Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, The University of Sydney Ian Young Associate Professor, Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, The University of Sydney Martin Ehrensvärd Lecturer, Department of Biblical Exegesis, The University of Copenhagen September 2011 We appreciate the opportunity to respond to Ron Hendels op-ed Obviously we are not going to repeat in full what we have already written in more detail in the books.
And neither do we want to write full responses to misunderstandings and misstatements that we will address in much more detail in other publications in preparation and press.
But we are willing to set forth again some of our main ideas and a few points of detail, so here are some boiled down responses. We agree with Hendel wholeheartedly when he says elsewhere: In the case of the Hebrew Bible it is difficult to define what the original means, since each book is the product of a complicated and often unrecoverable history of composition and redaction.
The original text that lies somewhere behind the archetype is usually not the product of a single author, but a collective production, sometimes constructed over centuries, perhaps comparable to the construction of a medieval cathedral or the composite walls of an old city (Hendel, The Oxford Hebrew Bible: Prologue to a New Critical Edition , p. Of course we are aware of the complexity of the formation of the books of the Tanak, and that the historical linguistics of biblical Hebrew should not be separated from other disciplines such as literary criticism and textual criticism.
Yes, absolutely, textual criticism is entirely compatible with historical linguistics, and, indeed, ..two pursuits are necessary adjuncts. See chapter 13 in volume 1 of Linguistic Dating of Biblical Texts (LDBT), and other publications by us cited in the bibliography in volume 2 related to literary criticism and textual criticism.
It seems almost unbelievable to us that Hendel actually claims The authors argument evinces a tenuous grasp of the practice and implications of textual criticism. Historical Linguistics.
But there are some big problems, routinely addressed in historical linguistic literature, that many Hebraists have often neglected, such as the issue of authentic and localized (in time and place) manuscripts and the issue of composite texts.
We think Hendel will agree that we have nothing close to authentic (or original) manuscripts and that most and perhaps all biblical writings are composite. Rezetko has also recently sent for publication a very detailed review-article of a monograph that has a similar line of argumentation.
This does not mean that historical linguistic methodology cannot be applied to the Tanak, but it does mean that that should be done with more sophistication and integration of various disciplines, including also a realistic understanding of the complex nature of the Tanaks composition/editorial/transmission history. As for the book review by Jan Joosten that is cited by Hendel, we found it very disappointing. 2, Eccl ... Callaham, in his dissertation/monograph on the modality of the verbal infinitive absolute, takes the infinitive as an imperative, as we say, though Ehrensvärd himself was uncertain in earlier publications (2003, 2006).
Therefore, the argument we are formulating in a book in progress, Diachrony in Biblical Hebrew: Steps Toward an Integrated Approach, is that historical linguistic research on biblical Hebrew (setting aside the anomalous and unsound matter of linguistic dating, what our previous books were all about and sought to discredit) must more carefully and fully integrate historical, literary, textual and linguistic disciplines, the latter including also corpus linguistics, a variationist approach, and typological linguistics. Actually, there are indications in the review that Joosten did not read both volumes of LDBT completely and carefully. 1, the LBH usage of qbl, Piel, to receive,... We do not assert what Joosten deduces from his shallow reading. The possibility of an imperative is discussed elsewhere in the literature, e.g. English translations have both options: substantive: TNK, NJB, NRSV; imperative: JPS, NAB, NASB, NIV.
The book is historical linguistic in scope and makes extensive use of historical linguistic research on other languages as comparisons to what is done and what should be done in the study of biblical Hebrew. Misinformation and disparagement aside, we have written responses to most of his criticisms, but here we will only discuss briefly his five examples of supposed weakness (unevenness) in philological analysis (pp. 1, the syntax of 2 S ... Apart from Joostens text-critical oversight most likely the LXX translators were translating wayehi and not wehayah as Joosten assumes (cf. 6.16 this is probably not introductory wehayah (and it happened...) but rather a periphrastic construction (and was...entering). We are not trying to say that the items in that column prove that EBH had the same words/roots in similar uses etc. 1, dat, law... See the remarks below on Persian loanwords. Crenshaw, Murphy, Seow, and considered a possibility, but then set aside in favor of the substantive option. So it is quite amazing that Joosten should pick this example to demonstrate our lack of ability in philological analysis. So, in summary, on the basis of his presentation of only these five specific examples Joosten states: Inaccuracies like these do not inspire confidence in Young and Rezetkos [and Ehrensvärds?
(As Robert Holmstedt said to us, Im guessing that the likes of Brian Joseph and Lyle Campbell would simply roll their eyes at what passes for methodology in historical Hebrew studies. Undoubtedly! Joostens arguments in these articles are less clear and certain than Hendel suggests, though they are important articles and offer a novel way perhaps to gain a glimpse of a few particular issues in late Second Temple Hebrew. 6-7) that he cited to demonstrate that Inaccuracies like these do not inspire confidence in Young and Rezetkos [and Ehrensvärds? 24.21 is debatable when viewed alongside synoptic 1 Chron. So, we are left with ten of twelve examples in Samuel, which are also cited by Miller (referenced by us; and she cites many other examples in EBH). English translations (and also commentaries) have both options: introductory: JPS, NASB; periphrastic: TNK, NAB, NIV, NJB, NRSV. 25.20; both are better understood as having periphrasis (e.g. There are many literary connections between the Abigail story in 1 Samuel 25 and the Michal story in 2 Samuel 6, so it is somewhat interesting that we should find the periphrasis with wehayah participle and also a following lqrt in only these two chapters in Samuel. They have no more interpretative authority than the opinions of other commentators throughout the ages. Quite the contrary, the point is that items in the table in the EBH column are used alongside the items in the LBH column in LBH. However, even Murphy says: But it is also possible to interpret it as an imperative (enter ...) parallel to watch, as most of the ancient versions and many commentators (e.g., Lohfink) have done (Murphy, Ecclesiastes , p. ] ability to deal seriously with the linguistic data. Really?! Of course we know the textual data Hendel cites, but the point we are making in the potted summary is that if one works on the basis of the MTas many recent Hebrew linguists have done, and in fact have asserted should be done, e.g.