Dating archaic biblical hebrew poetry

Posted by / 10-Dec-2019 14:31

These were largely recognized as verse early on in the tradition; much later, Robert Lowth’s Lectures on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews (Lowth 1995b, cited under Robert Lowth) showed that much of the Latter Prophets are also verse.

Fokkelman 2001 is also useful, although heavily indebted to structuralist analysis.

This particularly lean style is characterized by short lines, consisting of only two to six words per line, lending the impression of a heightened, dense form of discourse, achieved by bringing semantically important words together.

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.

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.

The authors describe in detail how the language in the various books of the Bible can be assigned to one of three major categories — Classical, Transitional, and Late Biblical Hebrew.

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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.