Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 16 (2016) - Review
Since the 1990s a debate has raged between Hebraists and biblicists over the history of ancient/Biblical Hebrew (BH) and the prospect of dating the writings of the Bible in their Masoretic Text (MT) dress on the basis of linguistic criteria. The book under consideration, A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew, by the distinguished Israeli scholar Avi Hurvitz, may be regarded as the magnum opus of the scholar who has led the field for nearly half a century. Our aim in this review is to evaluate critically the Lexicon on the basis of its general and specific contents and its explicit and implied objectives.
The bulk of the Lexicon consists of eighty entries, alphabetized, on individual words and expressions (25243). Most of these are two or three pages in length, a handful are four pages, two are one page, and one is six pages (מַלְכוּת). The entries are organized according to the Structure of the Entries (147) at the beginning of the volume. This section uses the word אִגֶּרֶת as its example, so effectively this noun is discussed twice in the Lexicon (147, 257). The treatment of each word/expression is methodical. First, each entry opens with the late Lemma (e.g., אִגֶּרֶת) accompanied by its respective linguistic form (n.f. = noun feminine), gloss (letter, ), and biblical references (Neh 2:7, etc.) with brief quotations of text. With one exception (cf. §5.7.4) the biblical references for the late form/use are exhaustive. Twenty-three entries are also cross-referenced to other related entries in the Lexicon (e.g., אֲדַרְכֹּן refers to דַּרְכְּמוֹן, and vice versa). Second, when there is a cognate word in Biblical Aramaic (BA) it is listed with its biblical references and brief quotations of text. Thirty-one entries list Aramaic cognates. Third, since the late variants supplant earlier words/expressions, Classical Biblical Hebrew (CBH) Alternatives are listed (e.g., סֵפֶר) with a selection of references and quotations of text. The latter usually juxtapose early and late texts with the early and late variants, respectively, such as a text from SamuelKings with an early variant alongside a text from Chronicles with its late alternative, though the texts cited are usually non-synoptic. Fourth, after presenting the relevant biblical data, each entry shifts to External Post-Classical Sources, that is, extra-biblical written sources dated to the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods. These are divided into two main groups of sources, Renderings/Paraphrases/Glosses (e.g., Aramaic Targums) and Independent Use (i.e., independent of a direct biblical influence, e.g., Ben Sira, the Dead Sea Scrolls [DSS], Mishnah), and a selection of references and quotations complements each entry. Fifth, Comments are made on the item under consideration and as a rule they incorporate quotations from the scholarly literature. Sixth, each entry concludes with a selective Bibliography.
The eighty entries in the Lexicon are preceded by a Prolegomenon (113). The brief Introductory Remarks (12) stress the distinction between First and Second Temple BH, periods separated by a critical turning point or watershed in the history of the Hebrew language in the fifth century b.c.e., after which many linguistic innovations are attested for the first time in biblical writings, and the conventional periodization of BH as Archaic, Classical, and Late is affirmed. The second and longest part of the introduction, The Linguistic and Historical Setting of LBH (211), reasserts the conventional tripartite division of BH and it focuses on two principal topics. First, the distinctive linguistic characteristics of LBH books are discussed. The late writings in view are Second Isaiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Qoheleth, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles. (Transitional writings such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and chronologically problematic writings such as Joel, Jonah, Song of Songs, and Ruth, are differentiated from these books.) The characteristics outlined are Persian loanwords, Aramaic interference, Rabbinic Hebrew (RH) elements, and inner-BH developments. Second, the well-known Hurvitzian criteria for identifying distinctive late features and writings are described. These are late biblical distribution, linguistic contrast with classical alternatives, and extra-biblical corroboration in relation to late features, and accumulation of such features with reference to late writings. The short third and fourth parts of the introduction discuss The Conceptual Plan of The Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew (12) and reject The Non-Diachronic Approach to BH (123).
The Lexicon is rounded out by a Preface (ixx), List of Abbreviations and Sigla (1823), and Bibliography: Works Cited in the Lexicon (24470). The book does not have indexes, but the eighty lemmas are listed one by one in the Contents (viiviii).
A lexicon is a word-book or dictionary (OED) and a dictionary is
Already there are more than a few of such catalogs of the vocabulary of the Bible, for example BDB, DCH, HALOT, NIDOTTE, TDOT, TLOT, TWOT, and so on, to mention only the popular Hebrew-English lexicons or dictionaries. So why another one?
The Lexicon is not just another traditional lexicon. It is a specialized one whose unique subject matter is a selection of eighty late words and expressions which are attested exclusively or predominantly in acknowledged late (i.e., postexilic, post-Classical) writings of the Bible (and other late sources). For this reason the first and main objective of the Lexicon is to catalog some items of distinctive late BH language. But the Lexicon has several other purposes.
The second objective is to validate that the late items which are extracted from the late writings are in actual fact late. To repeat, an item is considered late when it appears exclusively in late writings, that is, it is a late innovation, or when it occurs more intensely or predominantly in late writings, that is, it has experienced late diffusion. In either sense, therefore, a word or expression may be considered characteristic or indicative or typical of late BH. The confirmation of the lateness of any given item is determined on the basis of the criteria already mentioned above: distribution in the late writings of Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and/or Chronicles, contrast with alternative words or expressions in acknowledged early (i.e., preexilic, Classical) writings, and extra-biblical corroboration in other late sources such as Ben Sira, the DSS, RH, Imperial Aramaic, and so on.
The third and final objective of the lexicon is to substantiate that the acknowledged early writings with none or less of the late words and expressions under consideration are in actual fact early. In other words, Hurvitz argues that the collective absence in certain (early) writings of innovations or diffusions that are evident in late writings indicates that those (early) writings are definitely early.
Together the second and third objectives as described here suggest that the ultimate purpose of the Lexicon is to reinforce the linguistic dating of early writings to the early period and late writings to the late period. This is a reasonable conclusion in the light of Hurvitz's continous research and publication over his long career on the linguistic dating of biblical literature, the pivotal role that his four linguistic dating criteria (distribution, contrast, extra-biblical corroboration, accumulation) play in the Lexicon (911, and passim), and especially the recurring references in the Lexicon to the dating of biblical books, not features. This aspect of the Lexicon renders it somewhat unconventional and idiosyncratic as a lexicon, whether speaking in general or of BH or of LBH.
The main benefits of the Lexicon are that it provides a helpful entrance into Hurvitz's linguistic dating approach, his theory and method, gathers in one place many case studies that he published previously in different venues, and affords a good overview of some distinctive vocabulary of LBH. Altogether Hurvitz is cited in the bibliographies of 47 of 80 entries, but in fact he looks at some of the other items in earlier publications as well. Likewise, much of the Prolegomenon (especially 211) is a modified version of another recent publication. Consequently the book offers little that is new. The main exception is the richness of the Qumranic and Rabbinic citations that are given to support the lateness of the late words and expressions. The individual bibliographies are also useful, but they must be used cautiously since they cite only sympathetic voices (cf. §5.3). All things considered, Hebraists and biblicists who agree with Hurvitz's linguistic dating approach will be happy with this volume.
5.1. Introduction. In the following we summarize some of our general reservations about the Lexicon.
5.2. Lack of engagement with conventional historical linguistic theory and method. We argued above (§3) that the Lexicon's linguistic dating objective makes it rather unconventional and idiosyncratic as a lexicon. Furthermore, even though Hurvitz asserts, our Lexicon is, by definition, diachronic in nature and thus constitutes part and parcel of the discipline of Historical Linguistics (13), it is remarkable that the discipline of historical linguistics is mentioned only once in the volume, namely here. In addition, the bibliography fails to cite even a single title related to historical linguistics or language variation and change. The theory and method evinced in the publication are entirely Hurvitz's, and his objective is linguistic dating. Hurvitz may wish his volume to be historical linguistic in scope, but it is not, at least not in a conventional way. It might be that Hurvitz would reach a different conclusion about the efficacy of language for dating biblical writings if he were to embrace standard historical linguistic theory and method.
5.3. Limited engagement with scholarly literature on BH historical linguistics. We observed above (§4) that much of the Lexicon's content was already available in other publications by Hurvitz and others (Bergey, Polzin, Rooker, Wright, etc.). Furthermore, the Comments incorporate quotations from the scholarly literature, and indeed those citations constitute a large share of the discussion of each lemma. However, as mentioned above (§4), the comments, quotations, and bibliographies are restricted to other like-minded publications. Hurvitz explicitly refuses to engage or debate, even cite, any scholarship related to the so-called non-diachronic school or minimalists or challengers. Yet in some cases other independent scholarship with historical linguistic or linguistic dating implications, and conclusions contrary to Hurvitz's, is dismissed or overlooked.
5.4. Limited engagement with literary and textual research on the Hebrew Bible. Elsewhere we have argued that scholars in the area of BH historical linguistics often disregard literary-critical and text-critical matters or, rather, they act as if the MT is the original text of biblical writings. It would be inappropriate in this context to review in detail Hurvitz's non-linguistic assumptions and views. It is interesting to observe, however, that in the Lexicon he seems open to editorial and scribal processes in the production of postbiblical writings (e.g., 57, 90, 129), but he is reticent to allow those in the case of biblical books (e.g., 96), except where Chronicles rewrites SamuelKings (passim). And while it is acknowledged that [b]iblical literature was composed by different writers over an extended period of time so that the books differ from one another literarily (e.g., prose vs. poetry), historically (First Temple vs. Second Temple periods), and geographically (3), literary and textual developments within individual biblical books are ignored.
5.5. Periodization and unexplored matters. Hurvitz's linguistic dating method is inseparable from the assumption of distinct language periods, transitional periods between those periods, and books acknowledged to have been written (more or less as they are found in the MT) in one or another of those periods (14). So, for example, books such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel have language that is transitional between early and late BH (3, 90, 149, 168, 21920), and similarly Qumran Hebrew (QH) represents a transition between BH and RH (2). Elsewhere we have examined various theoretical and methodological problems with the notion of language periodization (states and transitions). We will not repeat our earlier criticisms here. However, there is one peculiar aspect of the Lexicon in this regard that we wish to highlight. In this work Hurvitz speaks about the fifth century b.c.e. as the critical turning point (1) and watershed (2) in the history of BH. However, in previous publications Hurvitz has talked about the sixth century b.c.e. as the turning point between the successive stages of BH. The reason for the change in Hurvitz's view is left unexplained. More importantly, the many potential historical and literary repercussions of this new perspective are passed over in silence.
5.6. Hurvitz's early data. The focus of the Lexicon is the language of LBH. But given the importance of his linguistic contrast principle (10) and his linguistic dating objective (§3), Hurvitz usually cites early alternatives to the late neologisms. There are various problems with the early data that are offered in the Lexicon.
5.6.1. Full distributional data for the early alternatives are not given. This remark applies to the reporting of early alternatives in, for example, both the early books of GenesisKings and the late books of EstherChronicles. It might be interesting and informative to know, for example, where the early alternatives for late כעס occur in early and especially late writings, since it is stated that [t]he late distribution of kāʿas within the Bible faithfully reflects an actual linguistic situation (144), but no information is offered regarding the distribution of those early alternatives in late writings.
5.6.2. Sometimes certain early alternatives are cited in the section CBH Alternatives at the beginning of each entry and then additional alternatives are cited in the Comments section. It would have been helpful to have all of the early alternatives cited together in one place. For example, מִשְׁפָּט and חֻקָּה are cited on p. 101 as early alternatives for late דָּת and then later חֹק and תּוֹרָה are cited as other early alternatives (102).
5.6.3. Sometimes particular early alternatives are cited but other early alternatives that are suggested elsewhere, even by Hurvitz himself in other publications, are unmentioned. For example, הגה is cited as the early alternative to late דרשׁ + God's law (98), but elsewhere Hurvitz supplies שׁמר + God's law as the early alternative.
5.6.4. Sometimes the early alternatives are so rare that one wonders in what sense they can be considered viable or meaningful alternatives rather than peculiarities or anomalies. For example, the hithpael of ילד is cited on p. 122 as the early alternative of the late hithpael of יחשׂ, but the former appears only once in the Bible, in Num 1:18.
5.6.5. Sometimes no early alternatives are offered (31 [but cf. 323], 79, 92, 109, 145 [but cf. 146], 223, 231) or some or all of the suggested items are acknowledged as uncertain (60, 84, 221, 239). Given the importance of the principle of linguistic contrast to Hurvitz's method (10), it seems significant when early alternatives are unknown or unclear.
5.6.6. Semantic equivalence of early and late variants is always assumed or asserted, never argued, and in some cases the words or expressions under consideration may well not be synonymous. For example, it seems doubtful that אֵין + infinitive and לֹא + imperfect are fully equivalent in meaning, even though there is overlap in certain uses of these constructions (36). Linguistic contrast is problematic without semantic equivalence.
5.7. Hurvitz's late data. At this point we come to the heart of the Lexicon: the selection, presentation, and explanation of late words and expressions in the core LBH books of EstherChronicles and elsewhere. In what follows we will advance some of our reservations concerning Hurvitz's choices and their underpinnings.
5.7.1. The criteria for the selection of the eighty items are unclear. We would like to know, for example, why Hurvitz selected those eighty words and expressions when many more late lexical items are suggested in the scholarly literature; Hurvitz studies some other items elsewhere; some of the eighty items do not occur in the undisputed late books of EstherChronicles; 29 of 80 items occur only once or twice in BH, 48 of 80 occur five times or less in BH, and 67 of 80 occur ten times or less in BH; and so on. We comment more below on the distribution of Hurvitz's eighty lexical items in (L)BH. Are we to assume that the eighty items in the Lexicon are good representatives, or even the best representatives of lexical change from early to late BH in Hurvitz's thinking? If not, then why did Hurvitz pick these items and not others?
5.7.2. Many related items are treated separately and might have benefited from joint consideration or perhaps discussion according to roots or semantic fields. We observed above (§2) that twenty-three entries are cross-referenced to other related entries. Sometimes the same information and/or quotation(s) are repeated verbatim in different entries. Of course such repetition is mainly due to the usual structure of a lexicon. In any case, a noteworthy example, which we discuss below (§6.5), is the treatment of the seven Babylonian months in the Bible, all of which are accompanied by identical information in the sections CBH Alternatives and Comments.
5.7.3. The Lexicon contains entries where the issue under consideration is perhaps better regarded as orthographical or grammatical rather than lexical.
5.7.4. There are some issues with the documentation of late data, aside from the fact that late items are not thoroughly documented in postbiblical sources (QH, RH, etc.). The Lexicon gives complete biblical references for the eighty lemmas, with the single exception of דָּת where Esth 2:8 is overlooked (101). On the other hand, the Lexicon never reports when a lemma occurs two or more times in a single verse (e.g., דָּת twice in Esth 3:8; 101). Occasionally the inclusion or exclusion of a particular late example is debatable, as Hurvitz recognizes, for example, with regard to בהל in Prov 28:22 (46).
5.7.5. The most problematic aspect of the Lexicon is the treatment of the LBH corpus (mainly EstherChronicles) as a single, essentially unified linguistic entity. Five issues are involved here: variation of late variants across different books, concentration of late variants in individual books, replacement of early variants by late variants, coexistence of early variants and late variants, and the notion of characteristic language. In general one would probably not bring up such matters in a critical review of a lexicon; however, Hurvitz's Lexicon is a special case since these five issues have potential implications for his linguistic contrast principle (10) and his linguistic dating objective (§3). In this review we can only sketch the concerns on which we elaborate further in our separate article.
22.214.171.124. Variation of late variants across different books. In theory Hurvitz is aware that different books use different items at different rates, but in practice he rarely discusses the items in a way which illuminates the differences (and similarities) between the books.
126.96.36.199. Concentration of late variants in individual books. The Lexicon gives no information about how many distinct late variants appear in any given book and how often they occur there.
188.8.131.52. Replacement of early variants by late variants. Hurvitz says many times that a late innovation replaces an early alternative. Such replacements or (categorical) contrasts between early and late writings have special significance in Hurvitz's method:
184.108.40.206. Coexistence of early variants and late variants. Alongside many statements about replacement (cf. previous point) the Lexicon also repeatedly states that early alternatives persist in late writings, such that early variants and late variants coexist with one another. Stated differently, late variants begin to or began to (73, 99, 102, 128, 186, 219) replace early variants but did not altogether, completely, entirely, fully, instantly, systematically, or thoroughly replace them (26, 47, 71, 82, 96, 131, 143, 200, 215). In short, the emergence of a neologism does not necessarily stop the use of the older synonym (189). Furthermore, Hurvitz believes, such early words and expressions are not part of the living linguistic usage (75) or the living language (87) or an actual linguistic situation (144); rather, they are nothing more than ancient survivals or archaizing devices (144) or survivals (186) from an earlier period of the language. In our separate article we explain how Hurvitz's ideas about replacement and coexistence actually complicate and even controvert his conception of language periodization (states and transitions), and we also comment more generally on the knotty issue of language continuity in historical linguistic theory and method.
220.127.116.11. Notion of characteristic language. While Hurvitz recognizes that [s]ome features may be idiosyncratic, not characteristic of LBH in general (8), more often than not he talks about words or expressions that are characteristic or indicative or typical of LBH (3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 37, 44, 59, 64, 96, 113, 128, 143, 151, 178, 190, 194, 215, 220, 222). What, however, does characteristic mean? How might something that is characteristic be characterized empirically? And how does the idea of characteristic language relate to the preceding ideas of variation, concentration, replacement, and coexistence? The Lexicon does not incorporate any statistical analysis, and consequently it does not allow us to get a good grip on what is characteristic about the lexicon of LBH. We shed some light on this issue in our separate article.
6. Discussion of specific examples
6.1. Preliminary remarks. At this point we would like to change tactics and look briefly at some individual linguistic variables in the Bible as a whole. This exercise will help us to appreciate better the way in which Hurvitz's Lexicon deals with individual linguistic items. It would be interesting and enlightening to investigate each of Hurvitz's variables in a separate study, but here we decided to look at Damascus, after that, end, and the seven Babylonian months as a group. It is important to underline that these four case studies illustrate Hurvitz's method as applied throughout his eighty entries.
6.2. Damascus (947). The spelling of Damascus as דַּרְמֶשֶׂק rather than דַּמֶּשֶׂק, the former with regressive dissimilation of the geminate consonants mem-mem, is attested six times in BH in the book of Chronicles: 1 Chr 18:5, 6; 2 Chr 16:2; 24:23; 28:5, 23. However, a glance at complete data for BH (MT) and QH enables us to get a firmer grasp on the history of spelling of Damascus”:
Hurvitz's main contention is that the continued late usage of the Classical דַּמֶּשֶׂק in no way impugns the exclusively late linguistic status of דַּרְמֶשֶׂק. The decisive issue is not when a given Classical element ceased to be employed, but when a linguistic innovation became available as a substitute for its Classical counterpart (96). In contrast, our main contention is that even if we grant that דַּרְמֶשֶׂק may be a late development (relatively or absolutely), it is not characteristic of LBH or QH and it does not serve Hurvitz's linguistic dating objective, since other late writers, such as those of Zechariah, Song of Songs, CD, and 4Q266, among many others, do not make use of late דַּרְמֶשֶׂק, but only early דַּמֶּשֶׂק. Stated differently, even if the occurrence of late דַּרְמֶשֶׂק proved lateness, the occurrence of early דַּמֶּשֶׂק would not prove earliness.
6.3. After that (345). The phrases אַחַר זֶה and אַחֲרֵי (כָּל) זֹאת (after that, following this) appear five times in BH: Job 42:16; Ezra 9:10; 2 Chr 21:18; 32:9; 35:20. There are several similar phrases in the Aramaic of Daniel (Dan 2:29, 45; 7:6, 7). According to Hurvitz this is one of many changes that took place between one phase and the next (35), that is, between CBH and LBH. Talk about phases, however, should cause us to look at complete data for the items in question. The following figure gives the late variants and their early alternatives, וַיְהִי) אַחֲרֵ(י) כֵן) and אַחֲרֵ(י) הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, in BH (MT) and QH :
Setting aside the Prose Tale of Job, the late variants in Ezra and Chronicles (cf. references above) are accompanied also by the early variants (Ezra 7:1; 1 Chr 18:1; 19:1 [both synoptic]; 2 Chr 32:1; 33:14 [both non-synoptic]), and some late writings have only the early alternatives (e.g., אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה in Esth 2:1; 3:1). In other words, it is important that we document and explain differences between one phase and the next (35) and between writings in a single (i.e., late) phase of the language. Such differences should serve as a caution against the idea of a linguistic phase or period, as described by Hurvitz in this entry and elsewhere.
6.4. End (18890). The noun סוֹף is used five times in BH: Joel 2:20; Qoh 3:11; 7:2; 12:13; 2 Chr 20:16. In addition, there are five occurrences in BA (Dan 4:8, 19; 6:27; 7:26, 28), and the cognate verb appears seven times in the Bible (BH: Isa 66:17; Jer 8:13; Zeph 1:2; Ps 73:19; Esth 9:28; BA: Dan 2:44; 4:30). Hurvitz argues that סוֹף is a late word in BH (189), an element especially characteristic of the Second Temple linguistic milieu (190), among the distinguishing markers of LBH, late extra-Biblical Hebrew, and late Aramaic (190). It is true, with the possible exception of Joel 2:20, that the noun is attested, according to convention, in late-dated writings only. However, when Hurvitz remarks, the emergence of a neologism does not necessarily stop the use of the older synonym (189), we should pause to look at all the relevant data. The late noun סוֹף and its early alternatives (אחרית ,קץ ,קצה) have the following distribution in BH (MT) and QH:
The earlier synonyms of סוֹף predominate and are characteristic of all of BH and QH, both early and late writings. Furthermore, some late writings like Daniel, Nehemiah, CD, and 1QS use the early words exclusively and even extensively. The distribution in Daniel is surprising. The Aramaic of Daniel has both the noun and verb of the root סוף (cf. references above), but LBH Daniel was not influenced by this root and looks like CBH writings in the use of the early alternatives. In conclusion, סוֹף appears several times in two (Qoheleth, Chronicles) or three (Joel) late books, but it is not a distinctive marker of late writings since typically they do not have this noun at all, but rather instead the early alternative(s).
6.5. Babylonian months (2830, 401, 1201, 1401, 1824, 1912, 2267). Seven of eighty entries (almost 10%) in Hurvitz's Lexicon are Babylonian month names, for example, אֲדָר (Adar), a name of the 12th month. Hurvitz's main point, repeated verbatim in each entry and even with the same example, is: Only in the LBH corpus do we find both (the older) numerical system and (the more recent) Mesopotamian names side by side in one and the same verse, e.g., Esth 3:7 לְחֹדֶשׁ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר הוּא חֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר (see on p. 28, 40, 120, 140, 182, 191, 226). Furthermore, he says: [T]he numeral month names were in use in Hebrew throughout the first millennium b.c.e. They persist also in the late biblical books . Only toward the end of the Second Temple period did the Babylonian names replace the numeral system (29; emphasis added). The following figure gives complete data for BH (MT) and QH:
There are some potentially significant issues for understanding usage and development in Biblical and Postbiblical Hebrew which we have to omit discussing in detail in the present context. For example, in Zechariah and Esther, without exception, the Babylonian month names follow and explain the numerical month names (cf. Zech 1:7; 7:1; Esth 2:16; 3:7, 13; 8:9, 12; 9:1; after the explanation is introduced in Esth 9:1 it is unnecessary to repeat it in vv. 15, 17, 19, 21). Or, for instance, Nehemiah uses the first, sixth, and ninth Babylonian month names (נִיסָן in 2:1; אֱלוּל in 6:15; כִּסְלֵו in 1:1), but instead of the seventh Babylonian month name (תִּשְׁרִי), which does not appear anywhere in BH or QH, Nehemiah has הַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי (the seventh month; 7:72; 8:2, 14). These issues and related ones merit further study. But what we want to highlight in this context is that Hurvitz's claim about replacement, that Babylonian names replace[d] the numeral system toward the end of the Second Temple period (29), is an overstatement and, based on the surviving data, has almost no relevance to any of the writings thought to have been written in the Second Temple period! Note the scarceness of (late) Babylonian month names in the figure above. Note also that they are absent in transitional and late writings such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Haggai (vs. Zechariah), Daniel, Ezra, and Chronicles (vs. Esther and Nehemiah), and most QH writings. In contrast, the distribution of the (early) Canaanite month names is not what we would expect if there was a linear development from the Canaanite to the numerical to the Babylonian month names. Compare the use of the Canaanite month names in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Kings, in contrast to the numerical month names in Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, and Samuel. It is also surprising, given Hurvitz's early dating of P, that this source (or redaction) has only the numerical month names. In short, Hurvitz's treatment of the Babylonian month names fails to give us a clear understanding of the lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew.
6.6. Implications. In our judgment it is quite possible that each of the foregoing LBH lexemes could be relatively later in origin than its corresponding CBH alternative(s). So, for example, דַּרְמֶשֶׂק is a relatively later equivalent of דַּמֶּשֶׂק, as we have argued elsewhere; or נִיסָן is a relatively later equivalent of הַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן and אָבִיב. Furthermore, in some cases, it may be persuasively argued that the embracing of a particular lexeme by biblical writers occurred rather late in an absolute sense, for example, sometime during or after the exile. That seems to be a reasonable explanation for the occurrence of Babylonian month names in some biblical books. Consequently, we would agree with Hurvitz that many of the LBH items in the Lexicon could be later features of BH than their CBH alternatives, relatively or absolutely. In that sense the title Lexicon of Late BH Features is a valid one for his book. However, the title Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew, the actual title of the book, is problematic because it gives a false impression of the language of the corpus of late writings as a whole. The reason for this, as we demonstrate in our separate article, is that what is generally called late language is a very rare and idiosyncratic part of the language of the corpus of late books, and those books show very different tendencies in their use (including non-use) of late variants. In addition, the actual distribution of early and late variants in BH, which rarely conforms to Hurvitz's principle of linguistic contrast between early/CBH and late/LBH writings, undercuts the efficacy of language for dating, which is the ultimate purpose of the Lexicon (§3). Returning to a specific example, and repeating what we said above, even if the occurrence of דַּרְמֶשֶׂק proved lateness, the occurrence of דַּמֶּשֶׂק would not prove earliness (cf. §6.2).
6.7. Are the late features really late? Despite what we said in the previous section, often it is uncertain that the features discussed in the Lexicon are really late in origin. Sometimes (MT) biblical distribution, early extra-biblical attestation, or both, might raise doubts about the absolute lateness of a late variant. Examples are:
- Biblical (MT) distribution: p. 369, אֵין + infinitive, perhaps 2 Sam 21:4; p. 424, אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, see 1 Sam 13:19; 2 Kgs 5:2, 4; 6:23; p. 457, בהל, see Ps 48:6; Prov 20:21 (Qere); 28:22; perhaps Zeph 1:18; p. 8891, דָּוִיד, see 1 Kgs 3:14; 11:4, 36; Amos 6:5; 9:11; p. 947, דּוּמֶּשֶׂק, perhaps a remnant of דַּרְמֶשֶׂק, see 2 Kgs 16:10; p. 98100, דרש + God's law, Isa 34:16; p. 1012, דָּת, perhaps Deut 33:2; p. 1279, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, cf. Jer 26:18; p. 17981, נדב hithpael, Judg 5:2, 9; p. 1857, נשׂא + אִשָּׁה, see Judg 21:23; p. 18890, סוֹף, Joel 2:20; cf. verb סוף; Ps 73:19; Jer 8:13; Zeph 1:2, 3; perhaps Amos 3:15; p. 1968, עַד לְ, see 1 Kgs 18:29; p. 2346, שַׁלִּיט, Gen 42:6.
- Early extra-biblical attestation: p. 257, אִגֶּרֶת, Aramaic; p. 4851, בּוּץ, Phoenician; p. 1124, זְמָן, perhaps Akkadian; p. 1156, זַן, perhaps Phoenician and Ugaritic; p. 1456, כִּרְצוֹן, cf. the verb רצה in Hebrew; p. 1479, כְּתָב, perhaps Hebrew; p. 2024, פִּתְגָם, cf. Homeric Greek verb; p. 2089, צָפִיר, perhaps Phoenician; p. 21720, קום piel, Aramaic.
- Both biblical distribution and early extra-biblical attestation: p. 16570, מַלְכוּת, Num 24:7; 1 Sam 20:31; 1 Kgs 2:12; Aramaic and perhaps Hebrew; p. 1735, מַעֲרָב, Ps 75:7; Aramaic and Ugaritic; קבל piel (2136), Prov 19:20; perhaps Amarna Canaanite.
Besides these points, because there is an extreme scarcity of early Hebrew documentary sources of known dates and places, and because much of what is deemed to be late based on (MT) biblical distribution can be called into question on the basis of, first, literary-linguistic circularity (i.e., book A is late, therefore feature Z in book A is late), and second, the probability of lexical variation and change in the long and complex process of writing, editing, and copying the biblical writings, absolute certainty about the lateness of this or that variant will remain out of reach.
Hurvitz's Lexicon conveniently gathers in one place many of his previous studies of specific late BH lexical features, and those previous studies are supplemented by other helpful examples of usage in QH and RH. His book is a particularly valuable asset within the descriptive realm of the Lexicon. This said, since Hurvitz's ultimate objective is prescriptive, in the sense that he intends for his Lexicon to reinforce the dating, relatively or absolutely, of biblical writings on a linguistic basis, the work should be read and used cautiously, and also with awareness that the quirky field of linguistic dating is gradually being eclipsed among linguists in general by the more robust methods of mainstream historical linguistics and historical sociolinguistics, including corpus linguistics and variationist analysis.
 The history of the debate and the significant publications are summarized in Robert Rezetko and Ian Young, Historical Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew: Steps Toward an Integrated Approach (SBLANEM, 9; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2014), 15
 Hurvitz's previous book-length monographs include Avi Hurvitz, The Transition Period in Biblical Hebrew: A Study in Post-Exilic Hebrew and Its Impilcations [sic] for the Dating of Psalms (Jerusalem: Bialik, 1972; Hebrew); idem, A Linguistic Study of the Relationship Between the Priestly Source and the Book of Ezekiel: A New Approach to an Old Problem (CahRB, 20; Paris: Gabalda, 1982); idem, Wisdom Language in Biblical Psalmody (Jerusalem: Magnes/Hebrew University, 1991; Hebrew). Hurvitz's academic accomplishments were celebrated and his publications were cataloged in a volume dedicated especially to him: Aharon Maman and Steven E. Fassberg, eds., Language Studies 1112 (Jerusalem: Magnes/Hebrew University, 2008; Hebrew).
 In a separate article we engage in more depth several significant theoretical and methodological issues related to both the conventional (or Hurvitz's) approach and our own tactic toward the study of BH language variation and change. See Robert Rezetko and Martijn Naaijer, An Alternative Approach to the Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew, JHS 16 (2016) (http://www.jhsonline.org/Articles/article_213.pdf). That article includes a substantial presentation and discussion of recent research undertaken by us, which aims to characterize the lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH), and it is intended to function both as a further evaluation of Hurvitz's Lexicon and as an illustration of what a new approach can offer to the ongoing debate
 Unless noted otherwise, all page references are to Hurvitz, Lexicon.
 acknowledged late compositions (Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles) (9; cf. 10).
 Although numerous dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew (BH) are available to us, no attempt has yet been made to publish a lexicon devoted specifically to Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH), i.e., to that linguistic stratum of Hebrew that begins to appear on the Biblical scene no earlier than the Second Temple period (fifth century b.c.e.), after the fall of the Judaean monarchy (ix); Our lexicon, concerned with the third of these linguistic layers [LBH], sets out to compile a selected repertoire of LBH elements that encompass primarily lexical innovations coined in post-Exilic times (1); Unlike the standard dictionaries, whose scope and extent are dictated by the contents of the Biblical concordance, this lexicon includes only 80 lexical entries, selected specifically for a diachronic investigation of LBH (12).
 Its main goal is to present linguistic and textual data (including the definitions of each entry) that, when considered as a whole, provide every indication that the word or phrase at the head of the entry ought to be classified as LBH. To this end, each entry is designed to display information that may be helpful in determining the diachronic status of the linguistic item included in the Lexicon (14; emphasis added); Unlike conventional Biblical lexica that generally define every single word attested in the Old Testament, this work sifts through the vast body of Biblical Hebrew and focuses on only a small fraction of the ancient vocabulary, which, based on the linguistic criteria presented in the Prolegomenon, lead us to classify the entry word as Late Biblical Hebrew (17; emphasis added).
 Early Biblical literature demonstrates that it is possible to use linguistic alternatives in comparable contexts, thereby removing any suspicion that a feature's absence from CBH stems from accidental distribution or from the limited scope of the Hebrew Bible. In other words, the argumentum of absence from CBH cannot be faulted for being ex silentia [sic] (10); Finally, it should also be noted that the Biblical material in the Pentateuch known as 'P,' widely considered to be of late provenance by adherents of the Graf-Wellhausian documentary hypothesis, is characterized by a thoroughly Classical linguistic profile that is best explained, we believe, as a genuine marker of CBH (11); Just as we know that the defective three-letter spelling is the original alphabetic spelling of the name David, and that it preceded the four-letter fuller spelling in time, so we also know that the books of Samuel and Kings are older than the Chronicler's work; and in a general way the data correspond to this elementary observation about the spelling of the name David in the books of the Bible. With certain equally obvious exceptions, it is clear that the older books (not just in content but in composition, compilation, and publication) have the earlier spelling and the later books have the more developed spelling the occurrence of the three-letter name in a book would point to an earlier date of composition in its present form, while the presence of the four-letter spelling of the name would point to a later date (89; favorable citation of David N. Freedman, The Spelling of the Name 'David' in the Hebrew Bible, HAR 7 , 89104 [93; emphasis added]).
 Explicit statements include, for example, to date chronologically problematic texts (10), for determining its linguistic lateness (10), inconclusive for dating purposes (11), highly significant for dating purposes (15), a marker of linguistic lateness (44), valid for dating purposes (51), the decisive fact here for purposes of dating (56), not helpful for dating purposes (118), the decisive fact for dating purposes (178), indecisive for dating purposes (186), does not prove the book's late provenance (190).
 See, for example, אֲדַרְכֹּן and דָּוִיד in Hurvitz, Transition Period, 16, 18, 20, 62.
 Avi Hurvitz, Hebrew Language, Late, in Geoffrey Khan (ed.), Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics (4 vols; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 1:32938.
 The present authors have discussed and evaluated many aspects of Hurvitz's linguistic dating theory and method elsewhere. See Ian Young, Robert Rezetko, and Martin Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating of Biblical Texts, Volume 1: An Introduction to Approaches and Problems, Volume 2: A Survey of Scholarship, a New Synthesis and a Comprehensive Bibliography (BibleWorld; London: Equinox, 2008), passim; Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, passim; Rezetko and Naaijer, Alternative Approach. The present review focuses as much as possible solely on the Lexicon.
 Since its basic methodological principles and philological guidelines are largely rejected by the non-diachronic school of BH, as openly revealed in their publications (see especially Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd 2008), the gulf between the two opposing parties is hardly bridgeable. Indeed, no common ground for a potentially meaningful dialogue in this connection seems to be in sight at the moment. Thus, our policy all along was to refrain from futile polemics. (Nevertheless, there are two entries in which we introduced, for purposes of illustration, critical comments relating to the nondiachronic line of argumentation: דַּרְמֶשֶׂק [comment d] and אֵין + infinitive [comment b].) Rather, our goal was to draw attention to, and focus on the actual diachronic analysis of the Biblical data in compliance with the guidelines described aboveguidelines that dominate the scholarly work of the leading experts on the linguistic history of BH (13); It should be noted that the bibliography in each entry is selective and in no way exhaustive, nor does it refer generally to the contentions of the so-called 'Minimalists' or 'Challengers' who, by and large, tend to reject the premise upon which conventional diachronic linguistic research of Biblical Hebrew is founded (17).
 For example, on בּוּץ, p. 4852, see Frederick W. Knobloch, Linen and the Linguistic Dating of P, in Nili S. Fox, David A. Glatt-Gilad, and Michael J. William (eds.), Mishneh Todah: Studies in Deuteronomy and Its Cultural Environment in Honor of Jeffrey H. Tigay (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2009), 45974; on נשׂא + אִשָּׁה, p. 1857, see Allen R. Guenther, A Typology of Israelite Marriage: Kinship, Socio-Economic, and Religious Factors, JSOT 29 (2005): 387407.
 See, for example, Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating, 1:604, 3418; Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 849. We repeat, Hurvitz's approach is at odds with mainstream scholarship on the literary and textual formation of biblical writings.
 Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating, 1:4958; Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 4956, 395402. In short, we believe together with some other Hebraists that the conventional three-stage model of Biblical HebrewEarly Biblical Hebrew and Late Biblical Hebrew with a transition between themis problematic in a variationist framework, offers no workable basis for empirical research, and should be set aside in favor of less idealized and more rigorous descriptive approaches to the database (Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 408). See also Rezetko and Naaijer, Alternative Approach, §7. Furthermore, the suggestion that there were transitions from BH to QH and/or RH is very problematic (cf. Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating, 1:197, 2413, 2468, 2778, and additional literature cited there).
 See, for example, Avi Hurvitz, The Language of the Priestly Source and its Historical Setting: The Case for an Early Date, in David Krone (ed.), Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, August 1621, 1981: Panel Sessions: Bible Studies and Hebrew Language (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1983), 8394 (84); cf. additional references to Hurvitz's writings in Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating, 1:14, 49.
 This flaw would be an example of neglect of the principle of accountability (cf. Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 232).
 See, for example, Avi Hurvitz, The 'Linguistic Dating of Biblical Texts': Comments on Methodological Guidelines and Philological Procedures, in Cynthia Miller-Naudé and Ziony Zevit (eds.), Diachrony in Biblical Hebrew (LSAWS, 8; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2012), 26579 (272).
 Similarly, returning to the previous point, the early alternative הגה appears only once in CBH GenesisKings, in Josh 1:8.
 This flaw would be an example of neglect of the principle of synonymy (cf. Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 229).
 Consider, for example, the table of 372 suggested late lexical variables in Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating, 2:179214. Fewer than ten (4, 12, 14, 15, 35, 38, 40, [55, but cf. pluralization in grammar table], 72, 77) variables in the Lexicon are not included in our table since they are not cited in the twelve publications we include there.
 Consider, for example, הלך (piel), כנס, and עמד (to stand) (Hurvitz, Linguistic Study, 4852, 947, 1235).
 For example: בִּנְיָן, seven times in Ezekiel; זָוִית, once in Psalms and once in Zechariah; מְעַטִּים, once in Psalms and once in Qoheleth; צוּרָה, four times in Ezekiel; שְׁבָט, once in Zechariah; שִׁלְטוֹן, twice in Qoheleth; שַׁלִּיט, once in Ezekiel, three times in Qoheleth, and also once in CBH Genesis.
 For example:
- abundance”: (לָרֹב מְאֹד ,לְהַרְבֵּה (מְאֹד;
- book, letter: סֵפֶר מֹשֶׁה ,מִדְרָשׁ ,כְּתָב ,אִגֶּרֶת;
- genealogy: יַחַשׂ ,יחשׂ;
- house: בִּנְיָן ,בֵּית קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים ,בֵּית קְבָרוֹת ,בֵּית מִקְדָּשׁ ,בֵּית הַכַּפֹּרֶת ,בֵּית (הָ)אוֹצָר ,בִּירָה;
- rule: שַׁלִּיט ,שִׁלְטוֹן ,שׁלט;
- time: זְמָן ,זמן;
- treasury, treasurer: גַּנְזַךְ ,גֶּנֶז ,גִּזְבָּר ,בֵּית (הָ)אוֹצָר;
- word: פִּתְגָם ,נְבוּאָה ,מַאֲמָר;
- money: דַּרְכְּמוֹן ,אֲדַרְכֹּן;
- months: שְׁבָט ,סִיוָן ,נִיסָן ,כִּסְלֵו ,טֵבֵת ,אֱלוּל ,אֲדָר.
 For example: אֵין + infinitive, עַד לְ ,מ וּלְמָעְלָה ,לְאֵין ,יֵשׁוּעַ ,יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ,דַּרְמֶשֶׂק ,דָּוִיד, etc.
 Rezetko and Naaijer, Alternative Approach.
 The aforementioned features are attested in all Persian-period Biblical works, but not in the same way or to the same extent (8); Furthermore, all late works exhibit an accumulation of LBH features, and therefore it becomes clear that no late writer could entirely divorce himself from his immediate linguistic milieu (8); These linguistic elements appear in all the books belonging to the late layers of Biblical literature, although, as noted above, not with the same frequency or in the same manner throughout the various Biblical compositions (11); In other words, it is impossible to view Persian-period BH as a monolithic stylistic stratum or a unified linguistic entity. Rather, LBH is a 'repertoire' of linguistic innovations that in many cases have close ties to IA [Imperial Aramaic] and/or RH (11).
 This flaw would be an example of neglect of the principle of individuality (cf. Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 2278).
 See the sentences with the following words: eliminate (26, 47), replace, replaced (by), replaces, or replacing (29, 33, 49, 54, 59, 61, 63, 66, 69, 82, 84, 87, 102, 115, 123, 138, 186, 229, 233, 235), substitute or substituted (by) (96, 123), supplant or supplants (15, 71, 96, 131, 200), vanished (143), at the expense of (99), in its place (149), and instead (of) (50, 73, 99, 134, 169).
 Early variants continue, continued, or continues (43, 54, 73, 78, 96) or persist (29) in late writings; they are still common (35), still (to be) found (178, 186), or still retained (123); they are used throughout BH (75, 102, 149, 215, 229, 232, 235, 242) or [i]n the Standard Biblical Hebrew and elsewhere in Late Biblical Hebrew (157). Early and late variants coexist (3, 47), were used interchangeably (194), or appear together (200) in LBH writings; they have coexistence (26, 200) or simultaneous employment (219); both (28, 40, 82, 120, 131, 140, 152, 182, 191, 219, 226) are used simultaneously (71) or side by side (26, 28, 40, 120, 140, 182, 191, 226).
 Rezetko and Naaijer, Alternative Approach, § 67.
 Rezetko and Naaijer, Alternative Approach.
 The data cited by Hurvitz, especially for early דַּמֶּשֶׂק, are incomplete. See Robert Rezetko, The Spelling of 'Damascus' and the Linguistic Dating of Biblical Texts, SJOT 24 (2010): 11028.
 See ibid., 11821.
 Hurvitz gives only the first of these under CBH Alternatives but on the following page he cites David and Zipora Talshir who also give the second. A complete study should also include adverbial uses of אַחֵר.
 On the language and dating of Job 1:12:13 and 42:717, see Avi Hurvitz, The Date of the Prose-Tale of Job Linguistically Reconsidered, HTR 67 (1974): 1734; Ian Young, Is the Prose Tale of Job in Late Biblical Hebrew?, VT 59 (2009): 60629; Jan Joosten, Linguistic Clues as to the Date of the Book of Job: A Mediating Position, in James K. Aitken, Jeremy M. S. Clines, and Christl M. Maier (eds.), Interested Readers: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honor of David J. A. Clines (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013), 34757.
 For a summary of the language and dating of the book of Joel see Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating, 1:11929; 2:42; also see additional discussion (and bibliography) of סוֹף in ibid., 121.
 Our database includes קֵצֶה ,קָצָה ,קָצֶה ,קֵץ ,אַחֲרִית and also קְצָה, but not קָצוּ.
 Aramaic Daniel also has קְצָה (Dan 2:42; 4:26, 31).
 Hurvitz gives only a sampling of data related to the early alternatives (that is, the Canaanite and numerical month names).
 Are the explanations authorial (original) or editorial? The explanations in Zechariah and Esther make use of הוּא which is frequently used in BH to mark an editorial insertion (see, for example, Michael Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel [Oxford: Clarendon, 1985], 448).
 Altogether 5 of 12 Babylonian month names do not appear in BH; 7 of 12 do not appear in QH; 4 of 12 do not appear in either BH or QH. It is interesting that numbered months 2 (x6), 4 (x1), 5 (x3), 7 (x9), and 8 (x1) occur twenty times in the late books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles, and the late Babylonian alternatives do not appear at all in these books.
 Hurvitz actually admits this with regard to QH (30), but the observation is quickly dismissed and its significance is left undiscussed.
 דרמשׂק may be considered typologically secondary to דמשׂק (Rezetko, Spelling of 'Damascus,' 123).
 Rezetko and Naaijer, Alternative Approach.
 Paul V. Mankowski, Akkadian Loanwords in Biblical Hebrew (HSM, 47; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2000), 545.
 Wilfred G. E. Watson, Archaic Elements in the Language of Chronicles, Bib 53 (1972): 191207 (194).
 Ian Young, Late Biblical Hebrew and Hebrew Inscriptions, in Ian Young (ed.), Biblical Hebrew: Studies in Chronology and Typology (JSOTSup, 369; London: T&T Clark, 2003), 276311 (2923).
 Young, Late Biblical Hebrew, 288.
 Ian Young, Diversity in Pre-Exilic Hebrew (FAT, 5; Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1993), 701.
 K. Lawson Younger, Jr., The Phoenician Inscription of Azatiwada: An Integrated Reading, JSS 43 (1998): 1147 (18, 32).
 See also the discussion of מַמְלְכוּת in Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 349.
 Nadav Na'aman, A New Look at the Epigraphic Finds from Ḥorvat ʿUza, TA 39 (2012): 84101 (8990).
 William F. Albright, An Archaic Hebrew Proverb in an Amarna Letter from Central Palestine, BASOR 89 (1943): 2932 (31 n. 16).
 Young, Rezetko, and Ehrensvärd, Linguistic Dating, 1:658.
 All biblical writings are unauthentic (unoriginal), composite (heterogeneous), and unsituated in time and place (undated and unlocalized). [E]ach book is the product not of a single author, such as Plato or Shakespeare, but of multiple, anonymous bards, sages, religious leaders, compilers, or tradents. Unlike much classical and modern literature, produced by a single, named individual at a single point in time, the biblical books are constituted by earlier traditions being repeated, augmented, and reshaped by later authors, editors, or tradents, over the course of many centuries. Thus the text of each of the books is organic and developmental, a composition-by-multiple-stages, sometimes described as a rolling corpus (Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Developmental Composition of the Bible [VTSup, 169; Leiden: Brill, 2015], 2). Studies that document linguistic variants in the earliest biblical manuscriptswhich however represent the latest stages of literary and textual developmentare discussed in detail in Rezetko and Young, Historical Linguistics, 11744. See especially the detailed discussions of parallel passages and Samuel manuscripts in ibid., 145210, 413591.
 The best evidence for linguistic lateness would come from adequate dated and localized documentary sources and biblical manuscripts from throughout the first millennium b.c.e. (which we do not have), or arguments for borrowing due to language contact in definite times and places (however, see Benjamin Noonan, Foreign Words in the Hebrew Bible: Linguistic Evidence for Foreign Contact in Ancient Israel [LSAWS; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, forthcoming]), or arguments for semantic or typological developments (which generally indicate only relative time or sequence). .