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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Determining the date of the legal texts of the Bible is fundamental to the study of biblical law because scholars seek to illuminate the interrelationship between law and the historical development of ancient Israel. Employing a pattern of evolving socio-economic institutions as a means of securing a chronological framework is faulty because a specific legal issue may have been addressed during a wide range of Israelite history. Charting the development of a single institution as a means of dating legal texts that lack an explicit chronological reference assumes a linear process without deviations. It is important to note that although we might assume that legal texts mirror reality, they might express an ideal divorced from reality or an ideology articulated in one time period that is adopted in another. By contrast, using linguistic criteria to determine dating is a more rigorous approach. This method can assign a text to a broad chronological era. It can mark out a chronology between texts from different linguistic strata, but it cannot ascertain a relative chronology between texts from the same linguistic stratum. For a relative chronology to be ascertained, a method to determine whether one text is alluding to another must be employed. Identification of an allusion must be based on shared language that is distinctive and rare.

Keywords: linguistic dating, chronological, the priestly source, Deuteronomy, Classical, Biblical Hebrew, Early Biblical Hebrew, Late Biblical Hebrew, allusions, classicizing

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