Paul Sanders' Thesis 3
The distribution of the pausal forms in the Hebrew Bible represents a division of the text that is older than the division by means of the Tiberian accentuation.
Reaction Prof. J. Revell to Paul Sanders' Thesis 3
This is my opinion, but it cannot, I think, be demonstrated beyond doubt. Palestinian Biblical MSS mark both accents and pausal forms, but both vary from the standard Tiberian to a certain extent. I feel that the argument that the accents and the pausal forms reflect the same reading tradition (put by B. E. Dresher in his article "The Prosodic Basis of the Tiberian Hebrew System of Accents" in the American journal Language 70, 1994, 1-52) is disproved by the fact that conjunctive accents are occasionally used with pausal forms (as in Deut 5:14, Lev 10:6), or that a word in contextual form is marked with a major disjunctive (as atnah Deut 21:7). As I mentioned, my doubt of the thesis is based on the fact that I could not find any way to counter the argument of A. Dotan that some features of the use of conjunctive accents proves that the accent system must have been established before the vowel system was fully developed. (`The Relative Chronology of the Accentuation System', in Mehqarim (Language Studies) 2-3 (1987), 355-65 (Hebrew), pp. xxviii-xxix (English summary). However, I suppose that this argument could be valid without disproving the idea that the pausal forms were already established (and their function forgotten) when the accent system was developed.
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