Publication Date

Spring 1996

Degree Granted


Institution Granting Degree

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary


Hebrew, linguistics


The following is a study of dialectal variations in the Masoretic text and classification of selected variations. Introductory material includes discussion of the use of "dialect" for regional, chronological, and stylistic distinctives.

This study is presented in two parts. Part one presents a case for the usage of dialect variation by writers and personalities in the Hebrew Bible. Part two offers analysis of current approaches to the classification of variants into chronological, regional, and stylistic distinctives.

Part one begins with an investigation of the Torah, presenting dialectal evidence from Genesis and Deuteronomy relating to vocabulary, geography, and tribal differences. Evidence from the Prophets consists of pronunciation, morphology, and semantic changes from the Former Prophets, as well as dialectal peculiarities from selected Latter Prophets. Features from the Writings relate to vocabulary, syntax, and poetic practices.

Part two begins with a discussion of chronologically distinctive features in Biblical Hebrew. Following this is an analysis of regional features in Biblical Hebrew and inscriptional evidence. Discussion regarding the classification of colloquial Hebrew and style-switching closes part two.

A summary and final remarks conclude the dissertation. Included in this is a discussion of the benefits of this study for biblical exegesis