There are two major methodologies in explaining the variants of the biblical Hebrew. Firstly, it is the diachronic approach that tries to describe the variants with historical differences such as early, standard, late Hebrew. Second, it is the synchronic approach that illuminates the variants with geographical differences such as southern Judahite Hebrew and northern Israelite Hebrew. During last three decades, Rendsburg and some scholars conducted the systematic and comprehensive study on the northern Israelite Hebrew, thus it becomes enough to reach the entity of northern Israelite Hebrew. On the contrary, several scholars joined to review critically on the researches in the northern Israelite Hebrew.
This paper pursues to introduce a history of research and methodology on the northern Israelite Hebrew, examine the issue of northern Israelite Hebrew(i.e, Israelian Hebrew) with focusing on the problems and issues raised by Fredericks, Schniederwind and Sivan, Young, and Pat-El, and finally tries to make a response to the issues raised by above scholars.
According to Rendsburg, linguistic features of the northern Israelite Hebrew appear in the following books and texts which are considered to be origniated from the north Israel: Hosea, Amos, Job, Proverbs, Qoheleth, Song of Songs, Deuteronomy 32, Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33 dealing the northern tribes, judges from the northern territories, Psalms of Korah and Asap, Nehemiah 9, and so on. Its linguistic and geographical boundary is neighboring with Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Moabite, Ammonite, Deir ʿAlla, and so on. It is also notable that the northern Israelite Hebrew shares its linguistic features with surrounding countries, not with Judah.
There are some scholars who criticized the researches on the northern Israelite Hebrew. Fredericks, Schniederwind and Sivan, Young, Pat-El reviewed critically the issues such as definition, methodology, texts and so on.
After summarizing disputed points of critical reviews, I try to make a response to the critiques. Though some points raised by scholars are reasonable and acceptable, its general directions are not so different from reaching the northern biblical Hebrew. However, Pat-El evaluates very negatively the reality of the northern Israelite Hebrew. I maintain that Pat-El is overstating her opinion and are considered to be not reasonable and acceptable. She starts with strong presupposition that the Bible has only literary forms shared by the same scribal tradition between the North and the South, so she insists that it is not distinguishable between the standard biblical Hebrew and the northern biblical Hebrew. She maintains that variants in standard biblical Hebrew could be explained in other ways, but she does not demonstrate clearly what they are. In sum, it is concluded that the critical reviews done by scholars are mostly not so reasonable, thus not enough to disprove the reality of the northern Israelite Hebrew.