Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry

By Frank Moore Cross Jr.; David Noel Freedman | Go to book overview
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Notes to the Introduction
This study has developed out of a seminar on the Psalm conducted by Prof. Albright at the Johns Hopkins University. We are indebted to Prof. Albright for many valuable suggestions.
Scribal errors in the transmission of each text must be recognized. Evidence for inner corruptions in the Samuel and Psalms versions will be found in the notes to the text.
In the first four verses, we find two different but parallel introductions to the ancient hymn (cf. note 2 to the text). II Sam. 22 and Psalm 18 are conflate texts preserving readings from both introductory passages. Efforts were made to harmonize the two texts, with the result that the metrical form and poetic parallelism have almost completely disappeared. Other striking examples of conflation are to be found in vss. 7 (see note 13 to the text), 12-13 (notes 31-33), 28, 29, 38, 39, 49. In certain cases, the variants are preserved in the different texts, in others as conflate readings side by side in the same recension.
In the course of transmission, both texts have undergone general grammatical and orthographic revision. This was an inevitable process in the transmission of literature in the ancient Near East (as is attested by succeeding editions of the same literary document; this is true of Accadian and Egyptian literary works, as well as others). The Psalms rendition, as might be expected, has been revised more completely than that of II Samuel.
There is no evidence whatsoever for the use of matres lectionis in a medial position in the Northern dialect (at least until the fall of Samaria), or the Southern dialect (the first traces of such usage come from the latest pre-exilic period). Final vowel sounds, however, were indicated in Hebrew after the tenth century B.C., by the appropriate vowel letter: he, waw, or yodh.
The use of internal matres lectionis developed in part as a result of the contraction of internal diphthongs in the exilic or post-exilic period. At the same time, historical spelling preserved the waw and yodh of the former diphthongs; these thus became vowel letters representing respectively " and ê. For a detailed discussion of Hebrew orthography, see the forthcoming study by Cross and Freedman.
In addition, there seems to be at least one case in which he appears as the third person masculine singular pronominal suffix (cf. note 34 to the text). This spelling is peculiar to the pre-exilic period.
Another possible case occurs in vs. 46. ௞ל௑י is perhaps to be vocalized yôbīlū.
While it is possible that a few archaic spellings might be introduced coincidentally through scribal error, the accumulation of such spellings in II Sam. 22 tends to rule out that possibility.


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Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry


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