Literary And Linguistic Studies In Sefer Bilvam (Numbers 22–24)
This dissertation's holistic approach to Sefer Bilvam, applied in the course of its philological and literary treatments of the text, yields significant new observations that stand in dialogue with the lengthy established discourse on this pericope. In the first portion of the study, a considerable number of individual linguistic peculiarities receive close attention, and contribute collectively toward a demonstration of styleswitching and setting-switching as devices operative in the text. The study's second part moves beyond these features, first treating the minutiae of the pericope's literary mechanics, and then turning to the larger tropes and patterns operative not only within this text, but also between it and other portions of the biblical corpus. Ultimately, this research highlights the richness, complexity, and subtlety of Sefer Bilvam as a sophisticated literary unit, and demonstrates that literary and linguistic approaches are crucial for accessing the totality of such material's intrinsic meaning. In addition, however, it re-engages prior discourse by providing a new perspective from which to evaluate longstanding questions about this pericope's date of composition and historical context. Specifically, it points to the conclusion that this is a Judahite text from the 8th century BCE, whose content draws on Gileadite Balaam traditions that penetrated into Judah as a consequence of Assyrian incursions into the region under Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BCE).
dissertation or thesis