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Is the Prose Tale of Job in Late Biblical Hebrew?

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An influential article published in 1974 by Avi Hurvitz argues that the language of the Prose Tale of Job (Job 1:1-2:13; 42:7-17) is incompatible with a date prior to the exile. Hurvitz's suggested Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) linguistic forms are examined, and while some forms are rejected, Hurvitz's judgement that the Prose Tale contains LBH linguistic elements is found to be correct. However, these do not occur in a sufficient accumulation for the text to be considered LBH according to Hurvitz's own methodology, but rather the accumulation is consistent with a classification as Early Biblical Hebrew (EBH). This conclusion has no chronological implications, however, since EBH and LBH represent not two chronological phases but co-existing styles of Hebrew in the post-exilic and quite possibly pre-exilic periods.

Affiliations: 1: University of Sydney, Australia


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