Glimpsing Archaic Biblical Hebrew through Thetical Grammar
Abstract

Abstract:

Does Archaic Biblical Hebrew really exist? The scholarly trend favoring later compositional dates for the texts composing the Hebrew Bible has been challenging long-held presumptions about the diachronic linguistic profile of Classical Hebrew. Significant questions have emerged concerning the character—and even the existence—of any authentically archaic (versus archaizing) Biblical Hebrew stratum within the canon, entailing substantial implications for philological and historical investigations. I employ an evolutionary paradigm as the functional matrix for historical linguistics, in efforts to advance the investigation into Archaic Biblical Hebrew beyond traditional methodological parameters. Promising interrelated avenues of inquiry include the gestural origins of language, deixis, grammaticalization, and thetical grammar. I demonstrate how these avenues permit us to gain deeper access into the diachronic trajectory of Classical Hebrew, thereby enabling us to calibrate more finely and firmly the (relative) chronology of biblical texts.


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