Saturday, January 26, 2019

Review essay on How Old is the Hebrew Bible?

Can the Ages of Biblical Literature be Discerned Without Literary Analysis?

Review-Essay of Ronald Hendel and Jan Joosten.
How Old is the Hebrew Bible? A Linguistic, Textual, and Historical Study. (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library; New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2018; xvi + 221).

Hendel and Joosten’s book is chock-full of insightful observations on a multitude of linguistic, textual, and cultural/historical phenomena, and they argue cogently that the best method for dating biblical writings should include all three of these data sources. Nonetheless, their answer to the question, "How Old is the Hebrew Bible?," is unoriginal because they do little more than offer a sophisticated repackaging of the traditional linguistic dating approach and results, and it is also unsatisfactory because they eschew literary criticism in the formulation of their model of consilience for determining the ages of biblical literature.

Ian Young
Associate Professor
Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
University of Sydney

Robert Rezetko
Research Associate
Radboud University Nijmegen & University of Sydney
January 2019
Past posts on the book are here and here.

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