Recent textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible has increased its interest in matters beyond just using the evidence of variant texts to attempt to estab-lish the earliest recoverable text of each biblical book. Scholars following this broader approach have come to value all of the variant forms of a book such as Daniel and to use them as a way of discussing the wider tradition of the book of Daniel. This study looks at two groups of textual issues in relation to the four kingdoms in Daniel as evidence of various stages in the develop-ment of the presentation of this idea in the book. The first issue is the de-scription, in the OG of Dan 2:39–41, of five kingdoms, and not only four, which may preserve a stage in the Daniel tradition before the idea of four kingdoms was introduced to chapter 2 under the influence of Daniel 7. The second issue discussed is the tendency of the OG of Daniel 7 to increase the human features of the first three beasts representing the first three king-doms.
A recent article by Richard Hess is framed as if it is a response to my earlier article on Israelite literacy. Hess argues that epigraphic evidence must be given first place when discussing Israelite literacy. However, this evidence on its own is unable to tell us anything about the extent of literacy. Instead, a clear picture emerges from biblical and non-biblical evidence that ancient Israelite literacy was generally confined to priests, scribes and government officials.
An influential article published in 1974 by Avi Hurvitz argues that the language of the Prose Tale of Job (Job 1:1-2:13; 42:7-17) is incompatible with a date prior to the exile. Hurvitz's suggested Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) linguistic forms are examined, and while some forms are rejected, Hurvitz's judgement that the Prose Tale contains LBH linguistic elements is found to be correct. However, these do not occur in a sufficient accumulation for the text to be considered LBH according to Hurvitz's own methodology, but rather the accumulation is consistent with a classification as Early Biblical Hebrew (EBH). This conclusion has no chronological implications, however, since EBH and LBH represent not two chronological phases but co-existing styles of Hebrew in the post-exilic and quite possibly pre-exilic periods.