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The starting point for this challenge was the publication of a volume Young edited with―in the words of one reviewer―the "yawn-invoking title" of EBH, according to the traditional view, is the language of the preexilic or monarchic period, down to the fall of the kingdom of Judah to the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

The exile in the sixth century BCE marks a transitional period, the great watershed in the history of BH.

Finally we will step back and ask some hard questions about the presuppositions involved in the dating―by linguistic or other means―of the books of the Hebrew Bible.

It is the work of the great Israeli scholar Avi Hurvitz that has established sounder methodological principles and therefore decisively advanced the study of LBH in recent decades.

Why, it might be asked, did Hurvitz need to decide that linguistic features were enough to date the Prose Tale late?

Why, in the first quote, did he need to emphasize that the LBH forms need to be more than few or sporadic?

Thus, as Hurvitz emphasizes in the quote above, it requires a "considerable number" of such LBH elements in a text before that text can be considered LBH. In his article on the Prose Tale of Job, Hurvitz identifies seven linguistic features in the 749 words of the Prose Tale as LBH elements and considers this enough evidence to date the work late.

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.

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.

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.

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