Can Loanwords in the Hebrew Bible be the result of scribal updating?

Now this is pretty interesting.

With Meagre Powers

A loanword is a word that originates in one language, but makes it into another language for common use.

The Hebrew Bible is replete with loanwords. These are interesting cases, because it makes us ask how and when these loanwords made it into Hebrew. They are often used as evidence for particular (usually late) dating of biblical texts.

I was recently asked whether it was possible for loanwords to have crept into biblical texts through editing. That is, could a later scribe, in the process of copying a text, have updated the language and replaced a Hebrew word in the early text with a loanword from another language? And if this is possible, what does this tell us about our methods of dating biblical texts?

Well, the scenario of later scribes inserting later loanwords into earlier texts is possible, but there is absolutely no way of verifying it without manuscript evidence of such a replacement occurring…

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3 thoughts on “Can Loanwords in the Hebrew Bible be the result of scribal updating?

  1. Hysterical stuff.

    But I have the same problem with Andy Borowitz. Sometimes satire gets so close to the truth that it is hard to tell them apart.


  2. I was reading The Onion piece when I commented. Must be one of those miracles you people are so hot on!


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