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If against this it is argued that the LBH linguistic feature found in the EBH text is not actually "late" but was also available in an early period, then its value for dating texts "late" is negated.Despite the claims of the criterion of accumulation, to which we will turn shortly, there is no reason to assume that an early author could not produce a text with a clustering of LBH elements if they were available to him.Hurvitz argues in his article on the Prose Tale of Job, as he does elsewhere, that the late elements in the text "betray their actual background; and if they are not few or sporadic ― in which case their occurrence may be regarded as purely incidental ― they effectively date a given text." Later, he mentions "the existence of a considerable number of such [late] elements in the Prose Tale..." and concludes: "As far as can be judged from the linguistic data at our disposal, these -classical ― namely, as imprints of late Hebrew ― thus making the final shaping of the extant Prose Tale incompatible with a date prior to the Exile." Thus: "It would appear that in spite of his efforts to write pure classical Hebrew and to mark his story with "Patriarchal coloring," the author of the Prose Tale could not avoid certain phrases which are unmistakably characteristic of post-exilic Hebrew, thus betraying his actual late date." Thus, according to Hurvitz, despite his best efforts, it was not possible for the author of the Prose Tale of Job to avoid using LBH linguistic features.Here, however, we note a striking fact about the argument.Perhaps, though, it is not the mere availability of LBH features, but their frequency which counts.In the study of the natural development of a spoken language over time, factors such as the date of origin of a specific linguistic feature and the growth in the frequency of its use in the language are indeed important considerations.Why, it might be asked, did Hurvitz need to decide that linguistic features were enough to date the Prose Tale late?
This last criterion, however, promises more than it delivers.One of his many important advances is to put to rest older scholars' insistence that "Aramaisms"―or Aramaic-like forms―are necessarily evidence of a late date.Contrast, for example, Otto Eissfeldt's argument regarding Song of Songs―Aramaisms and a Persian word equals lateness―with John Collins, who only mentions the Persian word.Now, this may in fact be a conclusion which is congenial to some.But others will not find this agreeable, so we will offer a way out of this conclusion by arguing that the presuppositions of the chronological approach are undermined by the evidence.